Iran rejected claims that a Saturday meeting may spotlight its past work with a potential ingredient for triggering nuclear explosions, Iran Daily Brief reports.
“We are not going to discuss any issues that have already been examined and closed” with the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, Iranian Atomic Energy Organization spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said in Persian-language news reports quoted by the website on Thursday.
He was referring to media chatter about the International Atomic Energy Agency’s possible renewed interest in the nation’s previous research involving polonium 210. The organization in 2008 said Iran had satisfactorily answered its questions concerning the substance, but IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano at a Munich conference last weekend said his organization wanted to “clarify” related matters.
The unusual radioactive material could be used to help detonate nuclear blasts, but also has some civilian applications.
At the same time, envoys are guardedly hopeful that Iran will agree in this weekend’s talks to begin allowing some investigation into whether it carried out past activities relevant to the potential weaponization of its nuclear work, Reuters reported on Thursday.
The Vienna-based nuclear agency might initially limit its demands for Iran — which insists its nuclear program is strictly peaceful — to permit scrutiny of so-called “possible military dimensions,” or “PMD,” of its atomic activities.
One Western diplomat said IAEA negotiators “absolutely have to start with some PMD issues. Low-hanging fruit would be fine as long as it was real PMD.”
A focus on less divisive priorities suggests the U.N. agency might hold off for the moment on demanding access to a military base where Iran is suspected to have carried out nuclear arms-relevant research, according to Reuters. Other points of concern include an allegation that Iran carried out digital modeling activities tied to potential nuclear tests.
The IAEA probe “is about being thorough and transparent, not about being fast,” said the Western envoy, who Reuters said was not affiliated with any of the six governments negotiating with Iran on its disputed nuclear activities.
What We're Following See More »
"Senate Democrats on Thursday failed in their first attempt to save the state and local tax deduction, which helps many residents of California and other high-cost states reduce their federal income tax bills. The Republican-controlled Senate voted 52-47 to reject an amendment that would have prevented the Senate from considering any bill that repeals or limits the deduction as part of a planned tax overhaul."
"President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski appeared on Capitol Hill for a closed-door interview with the Senate intelligence committee Wednesday, according to a source familiar with the matter. Lewandowski is the latest senior official in Trump's orbit who has met with the committee as part of its investigation into Russian election meddling and possible collusion with the Trump campaign."
"A growing number of key Republicans are sending this message to the leaders of the congressional committees investigating potential Trump campaign collusion with the Russians: Wrap it up soon. In the House and Senate, several Republicans who sit on key committees are starting to grumble that the investigations have spanned the better part of the past nine months, contending that the Democratic push to extend the investigation well into next year could amount to a fishing expedition."