Nuclear Secrecy Feeds Concerns of Rogues Getting WeaponsPosted: October 22, 2014
Here’s a great new piece by Jonathan Tirone, one of the very best reporters on IAEA matters. A number of important issues covered, including how the IAEA handles intelligence information – a theme also raised in the Russian statement I posted yesterday. Also some critiques of the IAEA’s institutional culture as it has evolved under the leadership of DG Amano, and the links between that culture and the credibility problems the IAEA is experiencing in the perception of some states.
I don’t know if anyone has ever wondered, but I know I criticize the IAEA a lot, and it might be natural to ask why. It’s certainly not that I don’t think the IAEA is an important international organization. Quite the contrary. I think the IAEA is a vital international institution, that at its best plays an indispensable role as an independent, technical safeguards body, able to bring some objectivity to disputes between states about the implementation of nuclear safeguards obligations. I think the IAEA, and former DG ElBaradei, deserved their shared Nobel prize for the exceptionally important role they played in the lead up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
I criticize the IAEA not because I want it to go away, or be less influential. Exactly the opposite. I want it to retain its positive influence. And to do that, the IAEA has to take the constructive criticism that the people quoted in this article, and in the Russian statement, are offering about problems in the IAEA’s institutional culture and modus operandi, and actually make the necessary changes so that the IAEA remains capable of having that influence.