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May 22, 2012

US: Tehran Must Follow Through on IAEA Deal

by Scott Stearns

The State Department - International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano says he and Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili have made a "decision to reach an agreement" on access to Iranian nuclear sites "quite soon."

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the Obama administration fully supports IAEA efforts to resolve issues surrounding Iran's nuclear program and expects to see real progress from Tehran.

"Obviously, the announcement of the deal is one thing, but implementation is what we are going to be looking for, for Iran to truly follow through and provide the access to all of the locations, the documents, and the personnel that the IAEA requires in order to determine whether Iran's program is exclusively for peaceful purposes," she said.

IAEA efforts are separate from Jalili's talks in Baghdad on Wednesday with officials from permanent Security Council member nations and Germany. Nuland said those talks will focus on the need for Iran to demonstrate that it is not trying to build nuclear weapons.

"We are going to be talking about the kinds of concrete steps that we are looking for and how, if Iran actually takes steps, we might be able to respond," said Nuland. "But clearly what the IAEA is involved in is verifying on behalf of the international community that things that Iran says are true are actually true."

Despite Western sanctions designed to curtail Iranian oil exports, on Tuesday Tehran appeared determined to press ahead with its nuclear program as state-run media quoted an Atomic Energy Organization of Iran statement, saying 20 percent enriched uranium has been loaded into the core of a Tehran reactor.

Iran has said its nuclear program is for peaceful civilian purposes. The United States has not ruled out a military strike against Iran to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday urged the six world powers negotiating with Iran to show "determination and not weakness" in the Baghdad talks.

Israel sees a nuclear-armed Iran as a threat to its existence.