The head of the UN nuclear watchdog will arrive in Tehran on Monday morning for a day of negotiations with the Iranian government on its co-operation with the agency, at the start of a week that is likely to be critical to an international effort to defuse tensions in the Gulf.
Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), will hold talks with Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, and senior officials from the country’s nuclear programme, with the aim of reaching a breakthrough agreement on inspections of sites and access to scientists suspected of having been involved in work on nuclear weapons.
Two days later, Jalili will meet the EU foreign policy chief, Lady Ashton, and senior diplomats from six world powers – the US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany – in Baghdad to discuss other confidence-building measures, including limits on Iranian uranium enrichment.
The degree of progress at both meetings is likely to have an important bearing on the level of tension surrounding Iran’s nuclear programme, the likelihood of an Israeli military strike against Iranian nuclear sites, and global oil prices.
Amano’s trip to Tehran is the first by an IAEA director general since his predecessor, Mohamed ElBaradei, visited in 2009. If the Japanese diplomat succeeds in securing an agreement on the IAEA investigation into alleged Iranian work on nuclear weapons, it would vindicate his tough approach to Tehran in the face of criticism that he is too closely aligned with the west.(Continue reading…)
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