UN nuclear watchdog demands Iran cooperation

The UN nuclear agency pressed Iran on Monday for access to "people, documents, information and sites," in talks closely followed by world powers for insights into Tehran's tactics next week in Baghdad.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad upped the ante in Tehran meanwhile, urging the West to "correct its manners" and declaring once again that the Islamic republic would not retreat from its "fundamental right" to a peaceful nuclear programme.

"We are here to continue our dialogue with Iran in a positive spirit," International Atomic Energy Agency chief inspector Hermann Nackaerts said as he went into two days of talks with Iran's envoy, Ali Asghar Soltanieh.

"It is important now that we can engage on the substance of these issues and that Iran let us have access to people, documents, information and sites," he told reporters in Vienna.

In particular Nackaerts wants Iran to address claims made in an extensive IAEA report in November that at least until 2003, and possibly since, there were activities which could only conceivably be aimed at developing the bomb.

He also wants access to the Parchin military base near Tehran where the IAEA report -- which cited foreign intelligence, its own sources and Iranian information -- said Iran had conducted explosives tests in a metal container.

An IAEA spokesman told AFP that the talks had finished for the day and would resume on Tuesday. He gave no details on what progress, if any, was made.

In two visits to Tehran in January and February, branded a "failure" by Washington, the IAEA said Iran denied Nackaerts access to Parchin and dismissed out of hand the claims made in the report as based on forgeries.

IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said earlier this month that access to Parchin was a "priority."

In March, he already said "activities" spotted by satellite there "makes us believe that going there sooner is better than later."

Western countries accuse Iran of removing evidence, but Soltanieh said in March that any allegations of "sanitization" of the site were "a childish (and) ridiculous story made out of nothing."

Iran, which disputed the IAEA's version of events during the two visits, says that since no nuclear activities took place at Parchin, it is under no obligation to allow the IAEA in. It has said it would allow access to Parchin but only as part of a broader agreement on "modalities" for future cooperation.

Since February, hopes have emerged that perhaps feeling the pressure from new US and EU sanctions due to bite from mid-2012, Iran's approach has changed.

Iran and the P5+1 -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany -- held their first talks in 15 months in Istanbul in mid-April, and agreed to more in-depth discussions in Baghdad on May 23.

The talks in Vienna could give early clues on whether the good atmosphere seen in Turkey will continue in Iraq, where the P5+1 want to get down to the nuts and bolts of the almost decade-old dispute over Iran's nuclear programme.

Any signs that Iran is using cooperation with the IAEA as a "bargaining chip" would however "get the Baghdad discussions off to a bad start," analyst Mark Fitzpatrick of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London said.

A Western diplomat cautioned too that "success in the Iran-IAEA track doesn't necessarily predict success for the P5+1 and Iran, and failure in one area doesn't necessarily predict failure in the other."

Most worrying to the P5+1 is Iranian enrichment of uranium to purities of 20 percent, most notably at the Fordo site inside a mountain near the holy city of Qom. Uranium enriched to 90 percent can be used in a nuclear bomb.

Tehran says it wants international acceptance of its right to peaceful nuclear activities, for sanctions to be lifted and for the threat of US and Israeli military action to disappear.

Iran's top negotiator, Saeed Jalili, was quoted Sunday as saying that Tehran was "awaiting actions to secure the Iranian people's trust" in Baghdad.

And on the day of the talks, Iran will launch an experimental observation satellite, the official IRNA news agency reported on Monday, in what will likely stoke Western fears about its long-range ballistic missile capabilities.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • US-Philippines wargames to start under China's shadow
    US-Philippines wargames to start under China's shadow

    Thousands of American and Filipino soldiers on Monday will kick off expanded wargames, showcasing a deepening defence alliance as alarm bells ring over China. The 10-day exercises in the Philippines are an annual affair between the longtime allies, but this time they will involve double the number of soldiers as last year in a sign of their expanding military partnership. The Philippines is seeking more US military and diplomatic support to fend off China's increasing forcefulness in its bid …

  • Bar ban for US troops in Philippines amid murder trial
    Bar ban for US troops in Philippines amid murder trial

    The US Pacific Command has banned its troops in the Philippines from bars and nightclubs, a spokesman said Saturday, with the trial under way of a US Marine accused of murdering a transgender Filipina he met in a bar. Thousands of American and Filipino soldiers will on Monday kick off 10-day annual military excercises, according to Captain Alex Lim, a spokesman for the US forces, but there will be strict controls on their free time. Lim would not say why the restrictions were imposed but …

  • Biker Beauty: Honda and David's Salon Pampering Day
    Biker Beauty: Honda and David's Salon Pampering Day

    Honda Philippines Inc. (HPI), and David's Salon recently held the awarding ceremony for the Metro Manila winner of the David's Salon Scooter Raffle Promo at the 5th level of SM Megamall Building A. Loyal patron Maria Theresa Guevara took home a brand new Honda Click 125i. Present to grace the occasion were David's Salon Creative Director Laura Charlton and HPI Assistant Vice-President for Sales and Marketing Hideo Nishinaga.To the delight of all those in attendance, guests were treated to …

  • ‘Next leader must not be newbie’
    ‘Next leader must not be newbie’

    Vice President Jejomar Binay believes the next president of the Philippines must have vast experience and a long track record in governance and in dealing with crises. “I am very much convinced that the local government is the best training ground for those who want to run for national government positions,” he said. Binay said he is determined to run for president in 2016 on the strength of his competence and track record. …

  • Massacre suspect tests negative for poisoning
    Massacre suspect tests negative for poisoning

    A suspect in the Maguindanao massacre case who had been examined at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) tested negative for poisoning, medical records released yesterday showed. However, the Quezon City court handling the multiple murder case resolved to isolate Police Officer 1 Pia Kamidon from the rest of the accused detained at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig for his safety. In a two-page order, Regional Trial Court Branch 221 assisting Judge Genie Gapas-Agbada ordered jail officials to …

  • ‘Homework first before Facebook’
    ‘Homework first before Facebook’

    President Aquino elicited laughter from students here as he reminded them to open books first before Facebook. “Finish your assignments first before making a raid in the Clash of Clans,” Aquino said, referring to a popular online game. In a speech during the turnover yesterday of two new three-story buildings at the Tarlac National High School, he said the government could only provide opportunities for learning but the rest of the work would be up to the students. The new school buildings …

  • Espina resignation confirmed; Noy looks for replacement
    Espina resignation confirmed; Noy looks for replacement

    President Aquino ended speculations yesterday and confirmed that Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina had indeed resigned as officer-in-charge of the Philippine National Police. As of this time, we are conducting various interviews and checks on the various candidates,” Aquino told reporters at the Tarlac National High School in Tarlac City. Aquino had kind words for Espina, saying that he stood by and defended the 44 slain police Special Action Force (SAF) commandos in the operation in …

  • Palace welcomes G7 concern over sea reclamation
    Palace welcomes G7 concern over sea reclamation

    President Aquino welcomed yesterday the Group of Seven industrialized countries’ expression of concern over rising tension in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea, calling it a clear indication of the global scope of the problem ramped up by China’s massive reclamation activities in disputed waters. In Tarlac City where he led the turnover of new classrooms, Aquino told reporters that goodwill and not tension must prevail in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea, where territorial …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options