Iran, U.N. Atomic Watchdog Upbeat After Two-Day Meeting

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
Oct. 29, 2013, 11:02 a.m.

Ir­an and the In­ter­na­tion­al Atom­ic En­ergy Agency held “very pro­duct­ive” dis­cus­sions this week about resolv­ing a rift over the Middle East­ern na­tion’s nuc­le­ar activ­it­ies and will meet again in two weeks, the two sides said Tues­day in an un­usu­al joint state­ment.

The de­clar­a­tion came after two days of meet­ings that star­ted on Monday with a face-to-face talk between Ir­a­ni­an Deputy For­eign Min­is­ter Ab­bas Araq­chi and IAEA Dir­ect­or Gen­er­al Yukiya Amano at the U.N. nuc­le­ar watch­dog’s headquar­ters in Vi­enna. Ir­a­ni­an and IAEA tech­nic­al ex­perts then spent Monday and Tues­day pour­ing over an un­dis­closed Ir­a­ni­an pro­pos­al for resolv­ing out­stand­ing is­sues re­gard­ing his na­tion’s nuc­le­ar pro­gram — which Ir­an in­sists is peace­ful but some na­tions fear is geared to­ward weapons de­vel­op­ment.

Tero Var­jor­anta, IAEA deputy dir­ect­or gen­er­al in charge of nuc­le­ar in­spec­tions, on Tues­day told re­port­ers gathered at his agency’s headquar­ters that the two-day tech­nic­al meet­ing was “very pro­duct­ive.”

“Ir­an presen­ted a new pro­pos­al on prac­tic­al meas­ures as a con­struct­ive con­tri­bu­tion to strengthen co­oper­a­tion and dia­logue with a view to fu­ture res­ol­u­tion of all out­stand­ing is­sues,” Var­jor­anta said, read­ing the joint state­ment.

Ir­an and the U.N. atom­ic watch­dog de­cided after their “sub­stant­ive dis­cus­sions” that they will con­vene an­oth­er meet­ing in Tehran on Nov. 11, in or­der “to take this co­oper­a­tion for­ward,” Var­jor­anta said.

Ir­a­ni­an Am­bas­sad­or Reza Na­jafi, stand­ing next to Var­jor­anta, spoke op­tim­ist­ic­ally about a new res­ol­u­tion to the nuc­le­ar dis­pute that he said his coun­try is of­fer­ing.

“I be­lieve that, with the sub­mis­sion of these new pro­pos­als by Ir­an, we have been able to open a new chapter of co­oper­a­tion,” he said, ac­cord­ing to Re­u­ters.

Ir­an’s meet­ings with the U.N. body are sep­ar­ate and dis­tinct from those it also is hold­ing with the so-called “P-5+1” — United States, Bri­tain, France, China, Rus­sia and Ger­many. Tech­nic­al ex­perts from the sev­en na­tions are slated to meet on Wed­nes­day and Thursday in Vi­enna in pre­par­a­tion for a Nov. 7-8 Geneva sum­mit between seni­or dip­lo­mats from the coun­tries.

In the United States, some mem­bers of Con­gress are push­ing for the pas­sage of Sen­ate le­gis­la­tion that would ex­pand eco­nom­ic sanc­tions against Ir­an. Pres­id­ent Obama’s ad­min­is­tra­tion has pled with Sen­ate aides to delay any move to ex­pand sanc­tions as talks con­tin­ue with the Middle East­ern na­tion.

U.S. Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry on Monday night said it “would be the height of ir­re­spons­ib­il­ity” to not con­tin­ue the dip­lo­mat­ic ne­go­ti­ations with Ir­an, ac­cord­ing to Bloomberg.

“We will not suc­cumb to fear tac­tics” against con­tinu­ing the talks, Kerry said at the non­par­tis­an U.S. In­sti­tute of Peace. Kerry didn’t elab­or­ate on his com­ments. Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Net­an­yahu, though, has been crit­ic­al of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s de­sire to en­gage as it has been with Ir­an.

Obama and Net­an­yahu talked over the phone on Monday about Ir­an and oth­er is­sues, Re­u­ters re­por­ted sep­ar­ately.

“The two lead­ers agreed to con­tin­ue their close co­ordin­a­tion on a range of se­cur­ity is­sues,” the White House said.

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