New York Times: The head of the United Nations nuclear oversight agency said Monday that his organization was in a “stalemate” with Iran over its nuclear program, just after the Iranian president affirmed once again that his country would not stop uranium enrichment or negotiate over its nuclear rights. The New York Times
By ROBERT F. WORTH
BEIRUT, Lebanon — The head of the United Nations nuclear oversight agency said Monday that his organization was in a “stalemate” with Iran over its nuclear program, just after the Iranian president affirmed once again that his country would not stop uranium enrichment or negotiate over its nuclear rights.
Mohamed ElBaradei, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told the group’s 35-nation board that Iran had not stopped enriching uranium or answered lingering questions about its nuclear program.
He urged Iran to “substantively re-engage” with the nuclear agency, and to “respond positively to the recent U.S. initiative” on a dialogue about nuclear issues.
President Obama and his European allies have given Iran until the end of September to respond to an offer of nuclear talks with the “five plus one” group of permanent United Nations Security Council members and Germany.
If Iran refuses, it could face harsher sanctions. Tehran has already defied three sets of Security Council sanctions.
Although Dr. ElBaradei made clear that Iran had not complied with many of the agency’s requests, he also lashed out at accusations by some “member states” that the atomic agency was holding back some of the intelligence it had collected on Iran’s program, saying they were false and should be stopped. Separately, he criticized Syria for refusing to disclose information about a suspected nuclear site bombed by Israel in 2007.
In a news conference in Tehran on Monday, the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said he was ready to hold “fair and logical” talks to “solve global challenges” with the six-nation group.
“We will continue our work in the framework of global regulations and in close cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency,” said Mr. Ahmadinejad, who won a second term after a disputed election in June that set off widespread protests and the worst internal unrest Iran has seen in decades.
But Mr. Ahmadinejad also made clear that Iran expected a “change of approach” from the other side, and it was not even clear whether nuclear issues would be on the agenda. He said, as he has in the past, that “the nuclear issue is over” from Iran’s point of view. Iran has repeatedly denied accusations that it is developing nuclear weapons, and it has refused to stop enriching uranium, citing its right to enrich uranium under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.