To isolate Iran, U.S. presses inspectors on nuclear data

The New York Times reports: President Obama is pressing United Nations nuclear inspectors to release classified intelligence information showing that Iran is designing and experimenting with nuclear weapons technology. The president’s push is part of a larger American effort to further isolate and increase pressure on Iran after accusing it of a plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States.

If the United Nations’ watchdog group agrees to publicize the evidence, including new data from recent months, it would almost certainly revive a debate that has been dormant during the Arab Spring about how aggressively the United States and its allies, including Israel, should move to halt Iran’s suspected weapons program.

Over the longer term, several senior Obama administration officials said in interviews, they are mulling a ban on financial transactions with Iran’s central bank — a move that has been opposed by China and other Asian nations. Also being considered is an expansion of the ban on the purchase of petroleum products sold by companies controlled by the country’s elite military force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

The Revolutionary Guards are also believed to oversee the military side of the nuclear program, and they are the parent of the Quds Force, which Washington has accused of directing the assassination plot.

The proposed sanctions come as administration officials confront skepticism around the world about their allegations that Iran was behind the plot and limited options about what they can do — as well as growing pressure from Republicans and some Democrats in Congress to take tougher action against Iran, with the central bank and the oil industry high on lawmakers’ lists.

All of the proposed sanctions carry with them considerable political and economic risks. Yukiya Amano, the cautious director general of the United Nations group, the International Atomic Energy Agency, talked publicly in September about publishing some of the most delicate data suggesting Iran worked on nuclear triggers and warheads. But officials who have spoken with him say he is concerned that his inspectors could be ejected from Iran, shutting the best, though narrow, window into its nuclear activities.

Similarly, China and Russia, among other major Iranian trading partners, have resisted further oil and financial sanctions, saying the goal of isolating Iran is a poor strategy. Even inside the Obama administration, some officials say they fear any crackdown on Iranian oil exports could drive up oil prices when the United States and European economies are weak. As one senior official put it, “You don’t want to tip the U.S. into a downturn just to punish the Iranians.”

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4 thoughts on “To isolate Iran, U.S. presses inspectors on nuclear data

  1. blowback

    Why don’t the Americans publish the information as I believe it was they rather than the Israeli fabricators of the information who passed it to the UN. Oh, silly me, I forgot, the Americans have an extreme credibility problem.

  2. Ian Arbuckle

    Since when was the US mouth piece Yukiya Amano, a “cautious director general of the United Nations group, the International Atomic Energy Agency”.

    Since he replaced Baradai who refused to do the US’s bidding, Amano has done little to nothing but act as the collector of unsubstantiated innuendo and dysfunctional mechanics in the US’s fight against Iran. What did he do when Brazil and Turkey arranged a deal to process the Uranium abroad???? What has he done about Israel’s blatant flagrant flaunting of nuclear arms regulations???

    “cautious director”, give us a break New York Times. The propaganda level is just off the meter and credibility is getting soooooo thin.

  3. Colm O' Toole

    /Agree with Ian. IAEA director Amano was the US pick for the role of IAEA director. One of the Wikileaks diplomatic cables even had this revelation:

    “several months later, Amano told a U.S. diplomat that while the full body of the IAEA required him (rightly) to be impartial, “he was solidly in the U.S. court on every key strategic decision.” This includes “the handling of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program,” according to the cable’s author.”


    Anyway like a said before I’m not liking any of this and don’t have a good feeling on where it is going. The fact that the US came out with these Iran accusations on the same day Israel agreed the prisoner swap seems like a strange coincidence.

    If the US/Israel was going to strike Iran, Israel would want to keep the Gaza front quiet for it. The last thing Israel would need is to be fighting a war on multiple fronts at the same time. Also notice how Iran’s main ally, Syria, will also not be able to open up a front against Israel if a war breaks out due to its current domestic scene.

    Then there is Admiral Mike Mullen who as head of the Joint Chiefs was consistently against an Iran war, retired 3 weeks ago. Meanwhile Petraeus is now CIA director and he has no love for Iran or the revolutionary guard (who on one occassion sent him texts messages taunting him while he was in charge of Iraq). Just hoping Biden is still fighting against an Iran war which he previously said “it would not be a bad option. It would be a disaster”.

    Tense times.

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