US slams Iran over IAEA cooperation on nuclear sites

The acting head of the IAEA, Cornel Feruta, shakes hands with Ali Akbar Salehi, director of Iran's nuclear energy agency in Tehran, on Sunday. (Reuters)
Updated 10 September 2019

US slams Iran over IAEA cooperation on nuclear sites

  • International Atomic Energy Agency has called in recent days on Iran to step up its cooperation
  • US says any potential delay, denial, or deception by Iran must be addressed immediately

WASHINGTON: The United States on Tuesday said it was “totally unacceptable” for Iran to drag its feet in cooperating with the UN nuclear watchdog, which is seeking answers to issues that diplomats say include the discovery of uranium traces at an undeclared site.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, which is policing Iran’s nuclear deal with major powers, has called in recent days on Iran to step up its cooperation, warning “time is of the essence.”
While the watchdog has declined to comment on what prompted the warning, diplomats told Reuters inspectors had found traces of uranium at a site in Iran which Israel has described as a “secret atomic warehouse.”

“Any indication that Iran is providing insufficient cooperation to the IAEA on a matter involving potential undeclared nuclear material or activities raises serious and profound questions,” the US statement to a quarterly IAEA Board of Governors meeting said.
“Iran’s failure to resolve the Agency’s concerns on this matter is completely unacceptable and should be of deep concern to all who support the IAEA and its safeguards verification regime.”
Iran has guaranteed the IAEA access to its nuclear program as part of a 2015 deal with world powers under which Tehran accepted curbs on its atomic activities in return for access to world trade.
The United States withdrew from the agreement last year and imposed sanctions on Iran with the aim of halting its oil exports and forcing Tehran to negotiate a more sweeping “comprehensive deal.”
Iran has said it will negotiate only if Washington lifts the sanctions. In the meantime, it has begun breaching some of the deal’s restrictions on its atomic activities, in what it calls a step-by-step, reversible response to the US withdrawal and the failure of European countries to protect it from US measures.
The IAEA’s acting chief Cornel Feruta has traveled to Tehran in recent days. He said his call to step up cooperation was “very well understood” by Iranian officials he met. His agency has declined to comment on the specifics of its questions as they are confidential.
“Any potential delay, denial, or deception by Iran that inhibits the IAEA’s essential safeguards verification work must be addressed immediately,” the US statement said.
“Refusal by Iran to do so will only underscore our concern that the matters before us may relate to serious questions regarding Iran’s compliance with its safeguards obligations.”

Earlier, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday accused Iran of "possible undeclared nuclear activities,"


Archaeologist Zahi Hawass: ‘There isn’t a country that doesn’t love Egyptian archaeology’

Updated 17 October 2019

Archaeologist Zahi Hawass: ‘There isn’t a country that doesn’t love Egyptian archaeology’

  • With only 30 percent of Egyptian monuments discovered, there is no rush to pursue the remaining 70 percent which remain hidden underground, says Hawass

 CAIRO: World-renowned Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass has affirmed the importance of Egyptian archaeology around the globe.

“There isn’t a country that does not love Egyptian archaeology,” Hawass, who was minister of state for antiquities affairs, told Arab News.

With only 30 percent of Egyptian monuments discovered, Hawass said there was no rush to pursue the remaining 70 percent which remain hidden underground.

“We don’t want to discover everything. We want to start by preserving and preparing the historical monuments which we have discovered, then start thinking about what is still undiscovered,” Hawass said.

So, restoration and preservation are the main goals for now.

With the new Grand Egyptian Museum still in the works, it seems likely that archaeology will be put in the spotlight once again, with more room for Egyptian artifacts to be showcased and appreciated rather than hidden, as in the old Tahrir museum.

“No one in the world doesn’t know Egypt. Egyptian archaeology is in the hearts of all people all across the world,” Hawass said.

This explains the immense popularity the new museum is expecting, located as it is, minutes away from the Pyramids of Giza.

Another reason behind its expected popularity is the attention ancient Egyptian figures have received across the years.

“Among the most famous ancient Egyptian figures, even for those who are not interested in monuments, we have King Kufu, who built the greatest pyramid, because that pyramid is something everyone talks about,” Hawass said.

He added that King Tutankhamun was popular because his coffin was restored whole, as was King Ramses II, the most famous of Egyptian kings, and Queen Cleopatra. Each of these figures gained fame due to popular tales and monuments attached to them.

Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass. (AFP)

Hawass plays a crucial role in drawing awareness about Egyptian archaeology around the world as well as focusing on the current situation in Egypt.

“I lecture everywhere (about archaeology)” he said. “Two to three thousand people attend each of my lectures. So I take advantage of to tell people everywhere that Egypt is safe and that Egypt is run by a president whom we have chosen. I am trying to change the perception about Egypt.”

As part of his efforts to promote Egypt and Egyptian culture, Hawass recently visited Japan.

“They (the Japanese) love archaeology. I would never have expected to be famous in Japan, but as a result of their love of Egyptian archaeology, they know me,” Hawass explained.

This is but a speck in the eventful career Hawass has led — which all started by accident.

“As a child I wanted to become a lawyer, so I enrolled in law school at 16 but realized that it wasn’t something I could do. So I left law and decided to study literature. There they told me about a new section called archaeology,” Hawass said.

After graduating Hawass went to work for the government, which he dreaded, until his first project came along. Workers came across a statue hidden inside a coffin which he had to clean. During the process he found his passion for archaeology. He went on to pursue his graduate studies on the subject.

“I went from failure to success thanks to one thing: Passion. When a person is passionate about something, he excels in it.”

Hawass did not point out his most successful or most preferred moment in his career, so full his life has been of memorable events.

“You cannot prefer one of your children over another. They’re all in my heart, all of the discoveries I have made.”