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

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.

What We're Following See More »
More People Watched Trump’s Acceptance Speech
1 days ago

Hillary Clinton hopes that television ratings for the candidates' acceptance speeches at their respective conventions aren't foreshadowing of similar results at the polls in November. Preliminary results from the networks and cable channels show that 34.9 million people tuned in for Donald Trump's acceptance speech while 33.3 million watched Clinton accept the Democratic nomination. However, it is still possible that the numbers are closer than these ratings suggest: the numbers don't include ratings from PBS or CSPAN, which tend to attract more Democratic viewers.