News / Middle East

    UN Watchdog, Iran Fail to Make Progress on Nuclear Issue

    Iran's International Atomic Energy Agency  ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh addresses a news conference during a meeting at the United Nations headquarters in Vienna, June 6, 2012.
    Iran's International Atomic Energy Agency ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh addresses a news conference during a meeting at the United Nations headquarters in Vienna, June 6, 2012.
    Selah Hennessy
    LONDON - Representatives from the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog and Iran hit an impasse Friday in talks on providing inspectors possible access to a military site that is key to Iran’s controversial nuclear program.

    "There has been no progress," the International Atomic Energy Agency's chief inspector Herman Nackaerts told journalists in Vienna. "This is disappointing."

    No date was set for another meeting, Nackaerts said.

    Map of Iran's nuclear sitesMap of Iran's nuclear sites
    Six world powers were closely monitoring the talks to see if Tehran was ready to make concessions before a meeting in Moscow later this month over disputes concerning Iran's controversial nuclear program.

    The aim of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been to gain greater access to the disputed military site, known as Parchin.

    Satellite images obtained by a U.S. research organization last week suggest Iran may be trying to wipe traces of nuclear weapon testing from the site. The U.N. is aware of the images and wants inspectors to be allowed in.

    Likely setback

    There have recently been reports of some progress on the access issue. But from the tone of Nackaerts' comments, Friday's news is likely to be seen as a significant setback.

    The IAEA’s chief, Yukiya Amano, visited Iran last month and returned from talks saying a deal would soon be made. But little was achieved during a meeting in Baghdad with Iran and world powers that came the same week.

    The United States, a number of European countries, and Israel suspect Iran of working to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies this; it says it’s developing civilian nuclear power.

    Anthony Skinner, a Middle East expert with the Britain-based risk analyst group Maplecroft, said he doubts ultimately that negotiations will produce results. Echoing a view from some Western nations and Israel, he says Iran is stalling.

    "I think the Iranians calculate that they can make incremental steps moving forward and back-peddling when it is convenient for them and stalling," Skinner said. "All this is a strategy to ensure that they can move ahead with their nuclear program, buy themselves time."

    Site key

    The U.N. watchdog believes explosives tests have taken place at Parchin that could be related to the development of nuclear bombs.

    Richard Dalton served as ambassador to Iran and is now an associate fellow at the London-based research group Chatham House. He said it's vital that negotiations with Iran succeed.

    To makes its case, Dalton said Iran will need to make transparent what it's done in the past to show the international community that it is not aiming to develop weapons.

    Dalton said he doesn’t believe Iran is working to develop nuclear weapons and that the country is entering negotiations in good faith.

    "I believe that Iran recognizes that it will not have sensible, productive relations with the outside world unless it can deal seriously with these allegations," Dalton said.

    Dalton added that negotiations have stalled in the past because of suspicions on both sides, including an undertone of covert action Iran says has been taken by Israel and the U.S.

    "Iran is a difficult negotiating partner but then it regards its negotiating partners as difficult from its point of view and this is a very sensitive matter," Dalton explained. "Because there has been so much bad blood."

    Without progress on the issue, a European Union oil embargo will be enforced on July 1, joining a host of international sanctions against Tehran.

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Michael from: USA
    June 09, 2012 9:34 AM
    Can someone be told to act responsibly when they have nothing to act responsibly about?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora