U.N. agency sees deal soon to check Iran nuclear work

Fri Dec 14, 2012 3:07pm EST
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The IAEA and Iran, which denies Western allegations it is seeking to develop a capability to assemble nuclear weapons, will meet again on January 16, Nackaerts said.

"We expect to finalize the structured approach and start implementing it then shortly after that," he said, referring to a framework agreement on how to tackle the IAEA's suspicions about possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program.

Nackaerts did not give details on what had been achieved.

But one stumbling block in previous, fruitless meetings was Iran's request for access to intelligence documents at the basis of the IAEA's concerns that Iran has conducted past, and possibly still ongoing, experiments relevant for atomic arms.

Another bone of contention has been Iran's insistence that each specific area of the investigation should be declared closed once the IAEA's questions had been settled, while the U.N. agency wants to be able to return to the issue if needed.

The IAEA had said after talks in May it expected a deal soon, but that failed to materialize.

"We have now had so many false starts that there are grounds to be skeptical," said Shashank Joshi, a senior fellow and Middle East specialist at the Royal United Services Institute.


Western diplomats, who often accused Iran of stonewalling and playing for time, want Iran to engage in substance on the IAEA's long-stalled inquiry and immediately give it access to sites, officials and documents it needs.   Continued...

Herman Nackaerts (C), head of a delegation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), reacts at the airport in Vienna after arriving with his team from Iran December 14, 2012. REUTERS/Herwig Prammer