10232014Thu

Iran insists on nuclear "right" ahead of IAEA talks

By Yeganeh Torbati

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran voiced readiness on Tuesday to address concerns of U.N. nuclear inspectors about its atomic activities in talks this week but said its "right" to refine uranium should be part of any agreement.

The Islamic state's insistence that its uranium enrichment - work which can have both military and civilian purposes - should be recognized may further dampen expectations among Western diplomats of any major progress in Thursday's talks.

The meeting in Tehran could provide clues as to whether Iran may now be more willing to help allay international suspicions over its disputed nuclear programme following U.S. President Barack Obama's re-election last month.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) hopes to reach a deal that would enable it to resume a long-stalled investigation into suspected past atomic bomb research, and possibly still ongoing, in Iran.

Ramin Mehmanparast, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, said Iran was ready to take action to resolve possible concerns of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, Iran's ISNA news agency reported.

But, he said, any deals with the agency "should be complete agreements in which Iran's right to enjoy nuclear science, including having the fuel cycle and enrichment for peaceful nuclear activities, exists.

"How this framework should be defined and how we should reach an agreement will be discussed by experts from the two sides in this meeting," ISNA quoted him as saying.

Iran has also previously demanded that its nuclear "rights" be recognized, but it has usually done this in separate talks with world powers involved in diplomatic efforts to resolve the decade-old nuclear dispute peacefully.

The United States says Iran does not automatically have the right to refine uranium under international law because, it argues, Tehran is in violation of its obligations under counter-proliferation safeguards.

Enriched uranium can fuel nuclear power plants, Iran's declared aim, but also provide material for bombs if refined further, which the West suspects is Tehran's ultimate ambition.

The United Nations Security Council has in a series of resolutions since 2006 demanded that Iran suspend enrichment, something Tehran has repeatedly rejected.

EXPLOSIVES TESTS

Western diplomats say they are not optimistic about the chances of a breakthrough in this week's discussions, after a series of meetings between Iran and the IAEA since January failed to make headway.

But they don't rule out that Iran, under tightening Western sanctions hurting its oil-dependent economy, will try to offer some concessions in an attempt to ease international pressure.

The IAEA wants Iran to allow its inspectors to visit sites, interview officials and study documents as part of an inquiry - largely stymied by Iranian stonewalling for four years - into possible military dimensions to the country's nuclear programme.

The IAEA's priority is to examine the sprawling Parchin military complex southeast of Tehran, where it believes Iran has carried out explosives tests with nuclear applications.

Iran, which rejects accusations of a covert bid to develop the means and technologies needed to develop nuclear arms, says it must first reach a framework agreement with the IAEA on how the inquiry should be done before providing any such access.

Nuclear expert Mark Hibbs said it was "highly unlikely" that Tehran would agree already this week to a visit to Parchin, which Western diplomats say Iran has tried to cleanse of any evidence of illicit nuclear-related experiments.

"It is possible that Tehran will only cooperate with the IAEA after it has scrubbed Parchin clean," Hibbs, of the Carnegie Endowment think-tank, said.

Iran says Parchin is a conventional military facility and has dismissed allegations that it "sanitising" the site.

(Writing and additional reporting by Fredrik Dahl in Vienna, additional reporting by Zahra Hosseinian in Zurich)

Search

Act of Cowardice

Iran's ruling tyrants have executed yet another political prisoner in flagrant violation of international law.  READ MORE

The rush to Tehran amidst rise in executions

World leaders should halt these visits and link any deal with Iran to its human rights record.  READ MORE

Arming a dictator

What if President Obama ordered the sale of arms to Syrian dictator to massacre his opponents? READ MORE

Slaughter intensifies under Rouhani

231 executions have occurred since the presidential election in June which brought to power Hassan Rouhani. READ MORE

Silence is not the answer

Iran: Bloody crackdown targeting dissidents aims at terrorizing the people into submission. READ MORE

Iran’s Murder Machine

The wheels of Iran's Murder Machine turn in tandem with its nuclear machine. READ MORE

What now?

The West must drop the dangerous pretence that talking to a regime not interested in listening constitutes the winning strategy. READ MORE

A facelift

This cosmetic facelift should not dupe the West into thinking that there are fresh prospects for a nuclear deal. READ MORE

An Act of Cowardice

The terrorist attack against Iranian exiles at Camp Liberty, Iraq, is another sign of Iranian regime's weakness. READ MORE

Much atalk about nothing

In Istanbul they merely agreed to talk about talking later in May in Baghdad, of all places. READ MORE

An unholy alliance

The brutal state-imposed bloodbath in Syria deserves uncompromising reproach. READ MORE

Iran cries for freedom

The clerical regime in Iran has predictably unleashed another wave of terror against the citizenry since the outburst of the latest string of mass protests beginning on 14 February. READ MORE

A new Iran policy

The latest round of nuclear talks had an all-too-familiar result: more time for Tehran and less time for the international community to prevent a nuclear-armed theocracy. READ MORE

Murder overlooked

What would the rest of us do if a mad gunman was in our midst, systematically murdering our fellow human beings in front of our eyes? The responsible amongst us would not look the other way, because that would serve as a source of encouragement for the murderers to carry on with their heinous acts unchecked. READ MORE

Standing up to Iran's executioners

The Iranian regime's malicious noose has yet again taken an innocent life. Political prisoner Ali Saremi, 63, was hanged in Tehran's infamous Evin prison after a lifetime of peacefully espousing human rights and democracy. READ MORE