News / Middle East

UN, Iran Report Positive Nuclear Talks

Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano from Japan, speaks to the media before his flight to Iran at Vienna International Airport, Austria, May 20, 2012. Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano from Japan, speaks to the media before his flight to Iran at Vienna International Airport, Austria, May 20, 2012.
x
Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano from Japan, speaks to the media before his flight to Iran at Vienna International Airport, Austria, May 20, 2012.
Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano from Japan, speaks to the media before his flight to Iran at Vienna International Airport, Austria, May 20, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
Al Pessin
A senior Iranian official and the United Nations nuclear affairs chief say they made progress in talks in Tehran Monday, as they laid the groundwork for nuclear negotiations between Iran and major world powers on Wednesday.

Iranian media quote the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, as saying the meeting was “intensive” and “very useful,” and would definitely “have a positive impact on” Wednesday’s talks.

But he also reportedly hinted at continuing disagreements, saying Iran and his agency each have their own views on the details of a framework to resolve the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but Western officials and experts suspect it is aimed at developing the ability to build a nuclear weapon.  The IAEA chief apparently did not get Iranian approval for inspections of key nuclear facilities.

It was Amano's first trip to Iran since taking office at the U.N. nuclear agency in 2009.

Nuclear facilities and sites in Iran.Nuclear facilities and sites in Iran.
x
Nuclear facilities and sites in Iran.
Nuclear facilities and sites in Iran.
After the talks, the top Iranian nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, said he had a good discussion with Amano about how to cooperate on global nuclear disarmament, stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and supporting the rights of IAEA member states.

Jalili made the comments standing alongside Amano at a joint news conference broadcast on Iranian state television. He called the talks “very good” and expressed the hope for “good cooperation in the future.”

Before leaving Vienna, Amano said he hoped to build on "good progress" made by lower-level IAEA and Iranian officials in the Austrian capital last week. But Amano also said "nothing is certain" about the prospects for an agreement on nuclear inspections.

Iran has rejected repeated IAEA requests to inspect its Parchin military complex in response to Western allegations of atomic weapons research at the site. Tehran says the complex houses only conventional weapons and insists the Iranian nuclear program is peaceful.

Tehran Weighs Options

Proliferation expert Mark Fitzpatrick at London’s International Institute for International Studies says Iran probably already has the capability to build a nuclear weapon. But he says economic sanctions may have given Iranian leaders enough incentive to take steps to reassure the international community that they won’t.

“Iran feels under great pressure on the sanctions front," Fitzpatrick said. "It sees that this pressure is only going to increase unless it takes some steps.  So I think it has made a decision to try to do something to relieve the pressure, whether enough to bring about any reduction in sanctions, that’s where I have some doubt.”

Wednesday’s meeting will bring Iranian officials together in Baghdad with senior representatives of the permanent five United Nations Security Council members and Germany.  

Fitzpatrick says the international officials will be looking for concrete steps by Iran to ensure that it cannot quickly build a nuclear weapon.  Such steps could include removing from the country highly enriched uranium and the centrifuges that make it.

Fitzpatrick says such moves would be in keeping with official Iranian policy declarations, but he is not sure the country’s leaders are ready to agree to them this week.

“There’s a lot of positive ‘mood music’ surrounding the Baghdad meeting," he said. "But I fear that the expectations might have risen too high, because I think what Iran will be seeking and what it is willing to give at this stage, those two may not yet meet.”

Fitzpatrick says the improved negotiating atmosphere and the prospect for some progress have eased pressure for an immediate military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.  

Israel Wary

But in Israel, where the prospect of a military strike is hotly debated, Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned Monday that Iran would try to “create an appearance of progress” in order to relieve international pressure.  

Israel sees a nuclear-armed Iran as a threat to its existence and refuses to rule out military action against the Iranian nuclear program.

During a visit to Prague Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed concern about the Baghdad talks, saying Iran may use them to buy time to advance its weapons ambitions.

Western officials say they will only be satisfied by concrete actions. The United States also has refused to rule out a strike on Iran to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons.

VOA's Michael Lipin in Washington contributed to this report.
Join the conversation on our social journalism site -
Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on
Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid