Nuclear powers will present Iran with demands as early as tomorrow that, if fulfilled, may damp an international stand-off over the Persian Gulf nation’s atomic work.
The International Atomic Energy Agency’s 35-member board called off a scheduled meeting today in Vienna to give nations time to prepare the demands. Chinese, French, German, Russian, U.K. and U.S. diplomats are expected to issue a statement tomorrow, after it has been cleared by leaders in their capitals, three officials told Bloomberg News on condition of anonymity because the information isn’t public.
“We have put forward an international framework that is applying unprecedented pressure,” President Barack Obama said yesterday at a press conference in Washington. “The Iranians just stated that they are willing to return to the negotiating table, and we’ve got the opportunity, even as we maintain that pressure, to see how it plays out.”
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano appealed for guidance on Feb. 5 after two rounds of talks between the agency’s inspectors with Iranian officials in Tehran failed to produce any result. European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said yesterday that world powers are ready to resume talks with Iran over its disputed nuclear work.
In addition to criticizing Iran’s failure to comply with United Nations Security Council resolutions ordering the country to suspend uranium enrichment and allow wider access to nuclear inspectors, diplomats are seeking agreement on how to support the IAEA’s oversight, the officials said.
The IAEA has intensified its talks with Iran since November and is seeking advice from its board on how to continue, Amano said on March 5 in Vienna.
While IAEA inspectors and Iran agreed to begin clearing up nuclear-weapons allegations by June, they remained divided over how to reach the goal, according to five-page document circulated this week in the Austrian capital. The document shows points of contention between Iran and the agency.
The U.S. and the EU have ratcheted up economic sanctions against Iran over concerns that the government in Tehran is pursuing nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
EU foreign ministers agreed to ban Iranian oil imports from July and freeze the country’s central bank assets.
The IAEA will resume its quarterly meeting at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow in the Austrian capital with statements about Iran expected to begin in the afternoon, according to the agenda.
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