France: Iran Must Act Faster on U.N. Nuclear Probe

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Global Security Newswire Staff
May 27, 2014, 8:43 a.m.

France said Ir­an must quickly an­swer U.N. ques­tions on its atom­ic past to de­fuse a nuc­le­ar stan­doff by a Ju­ly cutoff date, Re­u­ters re­ports.

Ir­an’s dis­clos­ures to the In­ter­na­tion­al Atom­ic En­ergy Agency are “pro­gress­ing too slowly,” French for­eign min­istry spokes­man Ro­main Nedal said on Tues­day.

The U.N. or­gan­iz­a­tion last week re­por­ted that Tehran had elab­or­ated days earli­er on its pri­or work with “ex­plod­ing bridgewire det­on­at­ors,” which can help to trig­ger nuc­le­ar ex­plo­sions, Re­u­ters re­por­ted sep­ar­ately. The watch­dog agency said the dis­clos­ures marked Ir­an’s first sub­stant­ive en­gage­ment since 2008 with an in­vest­ig­a­tion aimed at de­term­in­ing wheth­er arms am­bi­tions have partly mo­tiv­ated the coun­try’s nuc­le­ar ef­forts, which os­tens­ibly are en­tirely peace­ful.

The French for­eign min­istry spokes­man said that “con­crete res­ults [in the IAEA-Ir­an talks] are in­dis­pens­able be­fore the pos­sible fi­nal­iz­a­tion of a long-term [nuc­le­ar] agree­ment” between Tehran and six oth­er gov­ern­ments. The sides are push­ing for a deal to re­strict Ir­an’s weapon-us­able atom­ic activ­it­ies and lift sanc­tions against the Per­sian Gulf power.

“More needs to be done between now and Ju­ly,” the of­fi­cial ad­ded. Ne­go­ti­at­ors want to com­plete a deal by Ju­ly 20, when an in­ter­im ac­cord is sched­uled to ex­pire.

IAEA of­fi­cials still have a sig­ni­fic­ant num­ber of ques­tions, mak­ing it likely that some will re­main un­answered by the Ju­ly goal date, ac­cord­ing to the Los Angeles Times. That would leave the six oth­er ne­go­ti­at­ing powers with the task of as­sess­ing Ir­an’s nuc­le­ar am­bi­tions, ac­cord­ing to Dav­id Al­bright, head of the In­sti­tute for Sci­ence and In­ter­na­tion­al Se­cur­ity in Wash­ing­ton.

The European Uni­on on Tues­day said Ir­an and the six powers would launch five days of high-level nuc­le­ar dis­cus­sions on June 16, Re­u­ters re­por­ted. The an­nounce­ment came after EU for­eign policy chief Cath­er­ine Ashton spoke on Monday and Tues­day with Ir­a­ni­an For­eign Min­is­ter Mo­hammad Javad Za­rif about op­tions for mov­ing the ne­go­ti­ations for­ward.

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