Iran Opens Talks on Nuclear Inspections
Under pressure to meet a U.N. deadline, Iran began detailed negotiations Saturday on allowing U.N. inspectors unfettered access to its nuclear facilities.
Iâm betting this is less than it seems.
The talks with the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency ``may take several days, (but) Iâm optimistic that (we) will reach an agreement,ââ Iranâs representative to the IAEA, Ali Akbar Salehi, told The Associated Press. The IAEA has set a deadline of Oct. 31 for Iran to prove it has no secret program for producing nuclear weapons. If the agency finds that Iran has failed to respond satisfactorily, it is expected to refer the matter to the U.N. Security Council, which could lead to the imposition of sanctions
after interminable nattering.
Except that the French have already said that this wonât happen.
The talks came after IAEA head Mohammed ElBaradei met Iranian officials on Thursday to press Tehran on the deadline, saying the agency still has ``outstanding issuesââ to resolve over Iranâs nuclear program. ElBaradei said after his meetings that Iran promised greater access for IAEA inspectors. He said inspectors were allowed to visit one
cleansed military site and that there could be expanded reviews of both military and civilian facilities in the future. The IAEA has urged Iran for months to sign the additional protocol to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty that would give IAEA inspectors access to any site they deem fit without notice. Under Iranâs existing agreement to the NPT, the country is not required to allow IAEA inspectors to visit non-nuclear sites, including military installations. Two days of talks with IAEA legal experts ended Sunday, Tehran radio reported. Iran reiterated that the protocols should not interfere with Iranâs national sovereignty and its state secrets, Salehi said, according to Tehran radio. The IAEA legal team explained the protocol and will be invited for more discussions if necessary, he said.
As I recall, Saddam was also jabbering about "sovereignty" and "state secrets". Wonder if the black turbans will start talking about presidental palaces?
The head of the Iranian parliamentâs National Security and Foreign Policy committee, Mohsen Mirdamadi, told the AP on Thursday that ``Iranâs case should not go before the Security Council.ââ
"No, no, certainly not!"
``If allowing inspections of military sites resolves this problem,ââ Mirdamadi said, ``then we should do it.ââ Iranian hard-liners, however, have urged the government to stand firm against world pressure over the nuclear program and even to withdraw from the nonproliferation treaty.
Wonder if Jacques will allow the EU to say anything about that if it happens?
Posted by: Steve White 2003-10-20