Iran lacks confidence in IAEA's independence - expert

Nuclear Program Materials 22 August 2012 15:02 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Aug. 22 /Trend S.Isayev/

Iran lacks confidence in the independence of the IAEA and doesn't want to be seen to be capitulating, Senior fellow at Nanyang Technological University's S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, James M. Dorsey told Trend.

"That lack of confidence is reinforced by the failure of the P5 + 1 talks to produce a mutually acceptable solution due to the West's unwillingness to ease sanction in exchange for greater Iranian flexibility," Dorsey believes.

Atomic energy agency officials will meet with Iran on Friday in Vienna to discuss remaining "outstanding issues" surrounding Tehran's contested nuclear drive, the agency announced Tuesday.

The meeting on August 24, will allow "further discussions on a structured approach to resolve outstanding issues relating to Iran's nuclear program," the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a statement.

IAEA chief inspector Herman Nackaerts and deputy director general Rafael Grossi were expected to attend the talks at the Iranian mission in Vienna, AFP quoted the agency as saying.

These new talks come ahead of a meeting of the UN atomic watchdog next month, which will likely feature Iran near the top of its agenda.

In June, the IAEA and Iran had failed to agree a deal allowing greater access to Tehran's contested nuclear program.

Meanwhile, world powers have been pursuing a separate track of dialogue to ensure Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon, as they fear. Tehran insists its nuclear program is only for civilian purposes.

Speaking about the reports on Iran cleaning up its Parchin military complext several weeks ago, Dorsey said the key issue here is still about granting IAEA full access to the plant.

"Iran has so far not granted that access and in doing so either has reason to hide those facilities or to fuel the belief that it has intentions for a military nuclear program," Dorsey said.

The Parchin military complex attracted international attention early this year when the United Nations' nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, sought to inspect the site because of suspected undeclared nuclear activities.

The Institute for Science and International Security, a Washington-based non-profit research group, reported in May that satellite images taken in April indicated that Iran had begun substantial earth removal and other activities at the site to eliminate evidence of nuclear weapons work.

In November, the IAEA reported that it had "credible" evidence that Iran built a container inside of which scientists studied blast patterns useful for triggering a nuclear weapon.

After the IAEA sought permission to send inspectors to the site, Iran in early June denied a visit to the military base 18 miles (30 kilometers) southwest of Tehran.

As recently as June 21, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said access to Parchin remained a "matter of priority" for inspectors.

He also said that the nuclear talks are, in part, being influenced by the battle for the future of Syria that Western officials believe will significantly weaken Iran.

Speaking of continuous efforts of Israel to stop Iran from developing its nuclear program, Dorsey said Israel is trying to force the United States to commit to a tougher position after the US elections in November.

"For the talks to have any real relevance, they need to be able to produce a formula that would benefit both Iran and the West," Dorsey underscored.

ISNA reported that Chief nuclear negotiators of Iran and the six world powers will have a phone conversation on August 31 to exchange latest viewpoints over Tehran's nuclear issue.

This is while recently media outlet reported that Iran's Secretary of Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili and European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton would hold face-to-face talks late August.

Jalili and Ashton are to discuss the proposals and latest stances that the two sides raised during their expert-level meeting in Istanbul July 3 and if their opinions have grown close enough the ground will be prepared to discuss holding another round of talks, it was reported by ISNA on Wednesday.