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Thu Mar 22, 2012, 03:59 PM

Nuclear watchdog chief accused of pro-western bias over Iran

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/22/nuclear-watchdog-iran-iaea



International Atomic Energy Agency head Yukiya Amano, right, with the former US ambassador to the IAEA, Gregory Schulte. Amano is at the heart of the west’s confrontation with Iran over its nuclear programme Photograph: Rudi Blaha/AP


The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the nuclear watchdog at the heart of the growing Iranian crisis, has been accused by several former senior officials of pro-western bias, over-reliance on unverified intelligence and of sidelining sceptics.

Yukiya Amano, a veteran Japanese diplomat, took command of the IAEA in July 2009. Since then, the west's confrontation with Iran over its nuclear programme has deepened and threats of military action by Israel and the US have become more frequent.

At the same time, the IAEA's reports on Iranian behaviour have become steadily more critical. In November, it published an unprecedented volume of intelligence pointing towards past Iranian work on developing a nuclear weapon, deeming it credible.

However, some former IAEA officials are saying that the agency has gone too far. Robert Kelley, a former US weapons scientists who ran the IAEA action team on Iraq at the time of the US-led invasion, said there were worrying parallels between the west's mistakes over Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction then and the IAEA's assessment of Iran now.

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