Iran Points to Atomic-Treaty Pledges Ahead of IAEA MeetingJonathan Tirone and Yeganeh Salehi
Iran said it won’t shirk its nuclear-treaty obligations ahead of a meeting with United Nations atomic inspectors traveling to Tehran in search of a deal to dispel concerns over alleged atomic-bomb research.
International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors left Vienna today for a one-day meeting to negotiate wider access to Iranian facilities suspected of housing nuclear activities. Iran, a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, is ready to work with the IAEA if inspectors share intelligence that allegedly shows the nuclear work, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Memanparast said today.
“The agency was never ready to present documents behind” the allegations, Memanparast said at a briefing in Tehran. “If we are to answer allegations the other party must stand by its commitment, too.”
Iran, under IAEA investigation for a decade, studied how to make a miniaturized nuclear weapon designed after a Pakistani model, according to information given to the UN agency by unidentified intelligence sources. The Persian Gulf nation, under dozens of international sanctions, denies it is seeking atomic weapons and insists it should have access to all evidence on which allegations are based.
“We are approaching these talks in a constructive spirit,” the IAEA’s top inspector Herman Nackaerts told reporters before departing. Whether Iran will be permitted to see the evidence collected against it “is part of the negotiation,” he said.
IAEA officials initially expected to sign a deal tomorrow in Tehran that would permit them to visit Iran’s Parchin military complex, among other suspected sites, Nackaerts said Dec. 14. Expectations were subsequently lowered by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano.
“Negotiating with Iran is quite a challenge,” Amano said Jan. 11, according to the Associated Press. “A step forward doesn’t necessarily lead to another step forward. After making a step forward, there could be two steps backward or even three steps backward.”
Iran is ready to register a religious edict, or fatwa, issued by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as an international legal document, Memanparast said.
“Nothing is higher than the Supreme Leader’s fatwa for us to define the framework in which to carry out our nuclear activities,” he said. Khamenei, the country’s highest authority, said in February last year that Iran “has never been after nuclear weapons and never will be” and considers possessing them a “crime” as well as “unnecessary, harmful and dangerous.”
Iran reached an agreement on the timing for a new round of negotiations with the so-called P5+1 group, composed of China, France, Germany, Russia, the U.K. and U.S., Memanparast said without providing details.