The UN nuclear watchdog and Iran failed at talks Friday to unblock a probe into suspected atom bomb research by the Islamic state, a setback dimming any chances for success in higher-level negotiations between Tehran and major powers later this month.
Using unusually pointed language, the International Atomic Energy Agency said no progress had been made in the meeting aimed at sealing a deal on resuming the IAEA’s long-stalled investigation. It described the outcome as “disappointing.”
A few weeks ago, UN nuclear chief Yukiya Amano said he had won assurances from senior Iranian officials in Tehran an agreement would be struck soon.
The IAEA had been pressing Tehran for an accord that would give its inspectors immediate access to the Parchin military complex, where it believes explosives tests relevant for the development of nuclear arms have taken place and suspects Iran is cleaning the site of any incriminating evidence.
According to Islamic Republic, its nuclear program is meant purely to produce energy for civilian uses. But, The United States, European powers and Israel want to curb Iranian atomic activities they fear are intended to produce nuclear bombs.
Iran has rejected repeated IAEA requests to inspect its Parchin military complex in response to Western allegations of atomic weapons research at the site. Tehran says the complex houses only conventional weapons and insists the Iranian nuclear program is peaceful.
Some diplomats say Iran may offer concessions to Amano to strengthen its negotiating position in separate nuclear talks with six world powers in Baghdad on Wednesday. The world powers include the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany – a group that has been trying to assess the possible military capability of Iran’s nuclear sites.
The lack of result in the talk may heighten Western suspicions Iran is seeking to drag out the two sets of talks to buy time for continuing uranium enrichment, without backing down in the face of international demands it suspend its sensitive work.
“It should by now be clear to everyone that Iran is not negotiating in good faith,” a senior Western diplomat said.
A European envoy also accredited to the IAEA said, “This is a dismal outcome … Iran is simply wasting time with its evasions and refusal to engage.”