IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano - Reuters - 07112011
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, center, attending an IAEA meeting at the UN in September. Photo by Reuters
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The director general of the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, is due to present his latest report on the Iranian nuclear program on Monday.The report will be officially presented to the representatives of 35 countries that compose the IAEA's Board of Governors.

The report is expected to reach the media after it is officially presented, and will determine in the harshest fashion that Iran has conducted a long list of activities, including field tests and computer simulations whose sole meaning is that Iran is attempting to acquire nuclear weapons. This report will be much harsher than any of the IAEA's reports on Iran that have appeared annually since 2003. But it is doubtful that the report will state clearly that Iran already has the capability to manufacture nuclear weapons.

The report's main importance is that it will emphasize that Iran has continued its various activities to produce nuclear weapons since 2004, and therefore the report will also invalidate the U.S. intelligence report from 2007 that stated Iran had stopped its work on nuclear weapons development in 2003.

The report lists a number of Iranian activities to produce the weapons, including tests to determine the strength of a nuclear blast, developing capabilities to produce such weapons and trials, tests and simulations - all in an attempt to reduce the size of nuclear weapons so they could be mounted on a missile warhead. Most of the tests were conducted in a military base in Parchin, about 30 kilometers from Tehran, the report will state. Since this is a military base, IAEA inspectors have no authority to visit or inspect the site.

About a week after the report is presented, the Board of Governors will meet to discuss it. The U.S. and other Western nations will demand that the UN Security Council meet and introduce stricter, more effective and more painful sanctions against Iran in response to the report. But Russia and China, who are trying up to the very last moment to soften the report, object to further sanctions and it is doubtful such a move will pass in the Security Council.

The West wants to expand sanctions, but there is no intention to place sanctions on the Iranian central bank or the Iranian energy industry, which is the main source of revenues for Iran. The U.S. could have already placed unilateral sanctions on the Iranian central bank and put it on the U.S. blacklist, but has not done so out of fears that such a move could spark a crisis in world fuel markets and worsen the global economic crisis.

In response to the reports, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has accused the IAEA of giving in to U.S. pressure to level the accusations, which he said were based on fabricated intelligence. "Iran has already responded to the alleged studies in 117 pages. We've said time and again that these are forgeries similar to faked notes," Salehi told reporters in Tehran.

As to a possible Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, all Western nations oppose such a unilateral move, including the U.S. They have also made this extremely clear to Israeli leaders in recent talks in past months.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe has indicated that his country would come to Israel's aid if it was attacked, but said that if Israel decided to attack first that would be a different matter.