Iran envoy expects ‘progress’ in IAEA talks

Iran’s envoy to the UN atomic watchdog said that he expected ‘progress’ in talks Friday with the agency aimed at clarifying suspicions of covert nuclear weapons research work.

By (AFP)

Published: Fri 24 Aug 2012, 1:52 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 2:00 PM

‘We are expecting progress at this meeting,’ Teheran’s envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, told reporters as he went into the meeting, the first since June, at Iran’s embassy in Vienna.

‘The fact that we are continuing these talks with the agency indicates that we are determined to move to a positive conclusion.... Both sides are trying to bridge the gap,’ he said, without elaborating.

The IAEA wants Iran to address evidence it has amassed suggesting that at least until 2003, and possibly since, Teheran carried out ‘activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.’

The IAEA wants access to specific documents and to scientists involved in Iran’s programme, as well as to sites, including the Parchin military base near Teheran, which it visited twice in 2005 but now wants to look at again.

Iran rejects Western accusations that it is seeking to develop atomic weapons and says that its nuclear programme is peaceful.

Iran has said it will meet the agency’s demands if this forms part of a wider arrangement governing relations between Iran and the watchdog that experts and diplomats say would limit to an unacceptable degree the IAEA’s inspection rights.

The IAEA has also made several fruitless visits to Iran this year, and agency head Yukiya Amano said Wednesday he was not ‘optimistic’ about this latest effort, which comes amid fevered speculation of military strikes by Israel.

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