0622 GMT: Nuclear Watch. A high-level delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency resumes talks in Tehran today about "modalities" for inspection and supervision of Iran's nuclear facilities.
Western media are likely to focus on the issue of access to the Parchin military base, where US and European officials claim there is a high-explosive container which could be in a militarised programme for uranium; however, that is more a symbolic issue for Western pressure on Tehran.
Instead, the IAEA's primary concern for months has been access to all facilities in the Iranian programme. The Agency has repeatedly said that it has no evidence of diversion of uranium for military use, but it has also said that it cannot be conclusive without full verification. Tehran has maintained that an agreement must ensure that the IAEA's information is not used by Western intelligence agencies in operations against Iran.
The IAEA delegation was last in Iran on 16-17 January, where no progress was made.
Before this meeting, Iranian officials have taken a carrot-and-stick approach. Iran’s envoy to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, has said that he expects positive developments, and Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani declared on Tuesday:
We have repeatedly said that [nuclear] weapons have no place in Iran’s nuclear doctrine. Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has also issued a fatwa, forbidding the creation and stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction.
However, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Fereydoun Abbasi Davani put out a series of cautions to the IAEA:
It is necessary to speak more wisely during negotiations and avoid contentious topics in order to reach mutual confidence and clarify misunderstandings. Agency executives have to notice that, unfortunately, their system does not possess sufficient security, and that the Islamic Republic has emphasized this point many times. It is necessary [for them] to pay more attention in how they interact with Iran.
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