- Special Pages
VIENNA: Deadlocked talks with Iran will be in focus at a meeting of the UN nuclear agency’s board from tomorrow, together with a possible new term for director general Yukiya Amano.
Western powers, however, are expected to refrain from upping the ante against Tehran at the meeting in Vienna in order not to jeopardise parallel diplomatic efforts by six world powers, diplomats said.
“My own instinct is that there won’t be an Iran resolution,” from the 35-nation International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors, one diplomat said. “But it’s not definite yet.”
This is despite the fact that Iran refuses to give the IAEA access to sites, documents and scientists involved in what the agency suspects were efforts, mostly in the past but possibly ongoing, to develop nuclear weapons.
More than a year of meetings, the latest on February 13 in Tehran, have failed to agree on a so-called “structured approach” to address these allegations.
The agency also conducts regular inspections of Iran’s declared nuclear sites and its quarterly reports routinely outline advances in its atomic programme in spite of UN Security Council resolutions calling for a suspension.
The latest report, issued February 21, said that Iran had begun installing at its Natanz plant more advanced centrifuges to speed up uranium enrichment, a process at the heart of the international community’s concerns.
Enriched uranium can be used for peaceful purposes but also, in highly purified form, in a nuclear weapon. Iran denies this is its aim.
Tehran says that the IAEA’s conclusions about the “possible military dimensions” of its programme are based on flawed information from Western and Israeli spy agencies, information that it says it has not been allowed to see.
At a stormy IAEA board meeting in November, Iran’s envoy Ali Asghar Soltanieh said that no “smoking gun” had ever been found and that the West wants to hijack the IAEA for its own ends.