Reuters: U.N. nuclear agency chief Yukiya Amano complained on Thursday about Iran’s lack of cooperation with his inspectors, four days before long-stalled talks resume between Tehran and major powers.
VIENNA (Reuters) – U.N. nuclear agency chief Yukiya Amano complained on Thursday about Iran’s lack of cooperation with his inspectors, four days before long-stalled talks resume between Tehran and major powers.
Amano’s comments to the 35-nation governing board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) highlight the challenges that negotiators will face in seeking to resolve a dispute over the Islamic state’s nuclear ambitions.
“The agency needs Iran’s cooperation in clarifying outstanding issues which give rise to concerns about possible military dimensions to its nuclear program, including by providing access to all sites, equipment, persons and documents requested by the agency,” Amano said in a speech.
Western powers accuse Iran of seeking to develop atom bombs and want the country to suspend uranium enrichment activities, which can have both civilian and military uses.
Iran says its nuclear program is aimed at generating electricity and has repeatedly rejected demands to curb it.
Throwing independent weight behind the West’s suspicions about Tehran’s atomic ambitions, Amano said in his first report on Iran in February that the IAEA feared Tehran may be working now to develop a nuclear-armed missile.
His latest report on Iran, to be debated at the two-day closed-door board meeting, reiterated that Tehran was not providing the necessary cooperation to permit the IAEA to confirm that all of its nuclear activities are peaceful.
Iran has accused Amano of bias and relations soured further in June when Amano said Iran’s barring of some IAEA inspectors were hampering the agency’s work.
With Iran saying its nuclear rights are non-negotiable, analysts do not expect any breakthrough at the talks in Geneva on Dec 6-7 between Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
They say the first such meeting in more than a year could be the start of a process they hope will eventually lead to a resolution of the row, which has the potential to provoke a regional arms race and military conflict.
Germany’s envoy to the IAEA said the Geneva talks, which the Western powers want to focus on Iran’s nuclear program, offered a “chance for serious and substantial negotiations” which could also include other topics of mutual interest.
“This is a chance that Iran should not let pass,” Ambassador Ruediger Luedeking added in a comment to Reuters.
Germany is among the six powers involved in diplomatic efforts to resolve the dispute diplomatically, along with the United States, France, Russia, China and Britain.
(Reporting by Fredrik Dahl and Sylvia Westall; editing by David Stamp)