Iran Nuclear Negotiator Visits UN Monitors to Pave Way for Plan

European Union chief diplomat Catherine Ashton met with International Atomic Energy Agency head Yukiya Amano to discuss how United Nations monitors would oversee a possible deal between world powers and Iran.

Ashton and Amano talked about “the key role the organization will play in implementing a deal once it’s done,” her spokesman, Michael Mann, said today at a press briefing in Vienna. Officials from China, France, Germany, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S -- the so-called P5+1 -- are meeting with Iran for a second day in the Austrian capital as they seek a permanent accord over Iran’s nuclear work.

The IAEA was given wider access to Iranian facilities under an interim agreement struck in November. Inspectors are still trying to clear-up suspicions over the possible military dimensions of past Iranian nuclear experiments. Iran denies it ever sought nuclear weapons and says the evidence being considered by the IAEA is fake.

At an IAEA meeting last month, Amano cast doubt on the organization’s ability to resolve allegations against Iran before time expires on negotiations on July 20.

“That is not our time-line,” Amano told reporters at a June 2 briefing in Vienna. “It is their time-line. We’ll take the necessary time to resolve all the outstanding issues.”

While envoys may extend their six-month deal by another half year, a delay may undermine attempts to win a long-term accord, according to Jofi Joseph, a former U.S. negotiator with Iran at the National Security Council.

Even if negotiators “find common ground on an extension of the interim accord to allow more time for talks on a permanent solution, this agreement will run into significant resistance in some national capitals,” wrote Joseph in an analysis for Harvard University’s Belfer Center.

“Hardliners in Washington and Tehran view the interim accord as lopsided against their respective interests and a ploy for the other side to drag out negotiations,” he said.

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