News : Nuclear

Iran: IAEA Indicates No Progress in Nuclear Probe

By INU staff

INU - New information has come to light about Iran’s refusal to grant a visa to one key member of an inspection team sent to the country by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Reuters reports that sources close to the UN agency have indicated that the person barred from entering Iran on three occasions is probably a US national and an expert on nuclear arms. His inability to enter the country is only one example of the behavior that many Western observers see as stonewalling of the inspections process.

These behaviors have no doubt contributed to the reported lack of progress in the latest talks between Iran and the IAEA, which took place on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. The IAEA’s statement following the talks said only that discussions would continue in the near future, though it gave no indication of when the next talks would take place. According to Reuters, diplomats close to the agency indicated that nothing of substance had been achieved in the two-day meeting.

Iran, on the other hand, tried to put a positive spin on the talks, reflecting either an effort to downplay the effects of Iran’s failure to cooperate with the probe, or a different standard for what it hopes to achieve from its relations with the UN agency and Western powers. AFP quotes Reza Najafi, Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA, as referring to the talks as “very constructive” and saying that “all the bilateral issues were discussed, in particular, how to carry out the agreed measures and the ways forward were discussed.”

The fact that these issues were discussed, of course, does not mean that there was any progress towards actual agreement on said measures, much less that there was any guarantee that those measures would be completed. Najafi also said that the discussions were “direct,” an observation that may indicate either that Iran has extended its intransigence from the P5+1 negotiations to the IAEA inspection, or that the IAEA has begun to take a harder line in insisting upon Iranian cooperation.

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