The International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-member board has begun
talks focused on controversial nuclear activities in Iran and Syria,
among other subjects. This week's
meeting in Vienna comes as support grows among Western nations for
tougher U.N. sanctions against Iran.
The IAEA's five-day board
taking place amid claims that Iran has been trying to develop a nuclear
warhead, missile re-entry vehicles and other weapons.
concerns were highlighted by outgoing Director General Mohamed el
Baradei in remarks to the board - even as he noted some progress by
Tehran in a few areas.
"On all other
issues, however, relevant to Iran's nuclear program there is a
stalemate. Iran has not suspended its enrichment activities nor its
work on a heavy water related project required by the [UN] Security
Council," Baradei said.
He also criticized Iran
for failing to cooperate when it came to answering allegations about
the possible military dimensions of its nuclear activities.
Baradei also denounced as baseless recent press reports suggesting the IAEA
had failed to publish key findings about Iran's alleged weaponization
program to its members.
Analyst Tomas Valasek says support for
tougher sanctions is growing in Europe, before an upcoming U.N.
Security Council meeting in New York.
has happened is that ... Germany, France and Britain as well as Israel
have viewed the Obama administration's decision to engage Iran as
basically the last change to [resolve] the standoff by peaceful means
without further escalating the sanctions," Valasek said.
But Security Council members Russia and China have traditionally balked at tougher sanctions.
says its nuclear program is for purely peaceful purposes and its
president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, recently said he is willing to hold
talks with world powers.
But Valasek, who is director for
foreign and defense policy at the Center for European Reform in London,
says Mr. Ahmedinejad's remarks do not amount to much.
about the only thing he has said - besides saying he is willing to
discuss this with the international community - is that he will not
discuss Iran's enrichment, which is precisely what the West needs to
discuss. So basically he is saying he is willing to talk, but he is
not willing to budge from his position. So I suspect this will be
viewed, certainly in Europe and in the United States, as too little,
too late," Valasek said.
The IAEA board will also be
discussing Syria's alleged nuclear activities. Damascus has denied
claims that it had nearly completed a nuclear reactor that was
destroyed by Israeli jets in 2007.