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.

  • No need for Revilla to visit son – prosecutors
    No need for Revilla to visit son – prosecutors

    Instead of filing an opposition, ombudsman prosecutors filed a manifestation yesterday expressing belief that there is no urgent need for Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. to visit his son at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center. “Based on the clinical abstract issued by the Asian Hospital on patient (Cavite) Vice-governor (Jolo) Revilla, which was submitted by accused Revilla in support of his Urgent Motion, Vice-governor Revilla is in stable condition and has stable vital signs, as of March 1, …

  • N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills
    N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills

    North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and vowed "merciless" retaliation Monday as the US and South Korea kicked off joint military drills denounced by Pyongyang as recklessly confrontational. The annual exercises always trigger a surge in military tensions and warlike rhetoric on the divided peninsula, and analysts saw the North's missile tests as a prelude to a concerted campaign of sabre-rattling. "If there is a particularly sharp escalation, we could see the …

  • Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit
    Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit

    Cavite Vice Gov. Jolo Revilla wept and embraced his father as he apologized for the “accidental” shooting incident in their Ayala Alabang residence, the family’s spokesman said yesterday. Lawyer Raymund Fortun came out of the private room at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Muntinlupa City to speak to reporters, who were barred from entering the hospital compound during the visit of Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. …

  • Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires
    Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires

    Eleven Filipinos are included in Forbes’ 2015 list of richest people in the world. Filipino-Chinese tycoon Henry Sy Sr. continues to be the wealthiest man in the Philippines. The 90-year-old SM supermalls, banking and property tycoon ranked 73rd among the world’s richest with an increased net worth of $14.2 billion from $11.4 billion last year. Sy’s net worth was attributed to the continued growth of his SM Investments Corp. and his more recent venture, the City of Dreams Manila resort and …

  • Troops overrun BIFF bomb-making facility in Mamasapano
    Troops overrun BIFF bomb-making facility in Mamasapano

    Government troops captured Sunday a bomb and weapons factory of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced yesterday. Col. Restituto Padilla, AFP spokesman, said the captured bomb and weapons factory is located inside an area controlled by radical Muslim cleric Ustadz Mohammad Ali Tambako at Barangay Dasikil in Mamasapano. …

  • Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together
    Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together. …

  • How Islamic is Islamic State group? Not very, experts say
    How Islamic is Islamic State group? Not very, experts say

    CAIRO (AP) — Three British schoolgirls believed to have gone to Syria to become "jihadi" brides. Three young men charged in New York with plotting to join the Islamic State group and carry out attacks on American soil. A masked, knife-wielding militant from London who is the face of terror in videos showing Western hostages beheaded. …

  • Solar plane passes new test ahead of planned world tour
    Solar plane passes new test ahead of planned world tour

    A solar-powered plane made a third successful test flight in the United Arab Emirates on Monday ahead of a planned round-the-world tour to promote alternative energy. Organisers hope that Solar Impulse 2 may head off around the globe as early as Saturday but caution that the launch is dependent on the weather, even in the relatively cloudless Gulf. The hour-long test flight was the plane's third from the UAE capital Abu Dhabi's small Al-Bateen airport, but the first for Solar Impulse chairman …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options