Iran Offers UN Monitors Measures to Boost Trust in Atomic Work
Iran and United Nations nuclear monitors came closer to compromising on measures intended to build international trust that the Persian Gulf nation isn’t harboring a clandestine nuclear-weapons program.
International Atomic Energy Agency officials will travel to Tehran for a Nov. 11 meeting, where both sides will attempt to finalize an accord, chief inspector Tero Varjoranta said today in a joint statement in Vienna with Iranian envoy Reza Najafi.
“Iran presented a new proposal with practical measures as a constructive contribution to strengthen our cooperation, Varjoranta said. The Tehran meeting will be used “to take this cooperation forward,” he said.
The IAEA talks, aimed at winning wider access to people and places in Iran, are part of a flurry of diplomatic activity surrounding the country’s nuclear work. Concurrent negotiations between Iran and the so-called P5+1 powers -- the U.S., France, the U.K., Russia, China and Germany -- are seeking a settlement to a conflict which has raised the specter of war for a decade.
“We will not succumb to fear tactics” against holding talks with Iran, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said last night in remarks at the United States Institute of Peace, a congressionally funded, nonpartisan policy group in Washington. While Kerry didn’t elaborate, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has faulted the administration’s willingness to engage with Iran.
Iran wants “a new chapter in cooperation with the ultimate goal being the resolution of all outstanding issues,” Najafi said. Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said yesterday he was “hopeful of a good result” after flying to Vienna for a meeting with IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano.
Meeting world powers earlier this month in Geneva, Araghchi said Iran was willing to permit more stringent inspections as part of confidence-building measures intended to defuse the decade-long standoff. Topping the IAEA’s list of sites it would like to visit is the Parchin military base 20 kilometers (12 miles) southeast of Tehran, where Iran allegedly experimented on triggers for a nuclear device.
“We had a very productive meeting about the past and present issues,” Varjoranta said. ‘Parchin is of course one of those issues.”
Both sides agreed to keep details of Iran’s proposal secret. Iran has resisted granting access to Parchin and accused the IAEA of relying on fake intelligence.
Iran, with the world’s No. 4 proven oil reserves, denies that it is seeking nuclear weapons and insists its program is peaceful.
While investigators regularly enter Iran’s declared nuclear facilities, including its two enrichment plants, they say they still need to determine the extent of alleged hidden nuclear-weapons work by Iran.
To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Tirone in Geneva at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at email@example.com