|Iran to be in focus at IAEA meeting||
TEHRAN – Talks between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency will be in focus at a meeting of the UN nuclear agency’s board from Monday, together with a possible new term for director general Yukiya Amano, AFP reported on Saturday.
Western powers, however, are expected to refrain from upping the ante against Tehran at the meeting in Vienna in order not to jeopardize parallel diplomatic efforts by six world powers, diplomats said.
“My own instinct is that there won’t be an Iran resolution,” from the 35-nation International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors, one diplomat told AFP. “But it’s not definite yet.”
More than a year of meetings, the latest on February 13 in Tehran, have failed to agree on the so-called “structured approach” for further investigations into Iran’s nuclear activities.
The IAEA has called on Iran to sign and implement a structured approach document to resolve the issues and has stated that gaining access to the Parchin military site, which is located southeast of Tehran, is a priority for the UN nuclear watchdog.
Iran has made it clear that access to the conventional military site would not be possible before an agreement is reached on the structured approach document.
At an IAEA board meeting in November, Iran’s envoy Ali Asghar Soltanieh said that no “smoking gun” had ever been found and that the West wants to hijack the IAEA for its own ends.
The U.S. envoy shot back that Washington would seek in March to convince the IAEA board to report Iran to the UN Security Council if no “substantive cooperation” had begun over the IAEA’s probe.
But in view of apparent tentative progress made at talks in Kazakhstan last Tuesday and Wednesday between Iran and six world powers, the United States and its allies in Vienna appear to have rowed back from this threat.
Those talks saw the P5+1 - the U.S., China, Russia, Britain, France, and Germany - sweeten an offer made to Iran last year, scaling back some of their demands and offering more relief from sanctions.
Technical experts from both sides are meant to begin thrashing out the details on March 17-18 in Istanbul before chief negotiators return to Almaty on April 5-6.
Western countries were meanwhile hoping that in the closed-door meeting, scheduled to last four days, the IAEA board would approve Amano being given a second four-year term.
U.S. diplomatic cables from 2009 published by WikiLeaks said Amano was “solidly in the U.S. court on every key strategic decision” and “DG of all states, but in agreement with us.”
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