Iran Nuclear NewsIran envoy could provide nuclear answers

Iran envoy could provide nuclear answers

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AP: After years of stonewalling, Iran is sending a senior envoy to talks with the U.N. atomic monitoring agency that could provide answers on past nuclear activities, diplomats said Sunday. Associated Press

By GEORGE JAHN

Associated Press Writer

VIENNA, Austria (AP) – After years of stonewalling, Iran is sending a senior envoy to talks with the U.N. atomic monitoring agency that could provide answers on past nuclear activities, diplomats said Sunday.

The diplomats told The Associated Press that Iranian negotiator Javad Vaedi was set to meet as early as Monday with Olli Heinonen, a senior official of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The talks were scheduled after Vaedi meets in Vienna with senior European Union negotiator Robert Cooper in a follow-up to May 31 discussions in Madrid between EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Ali Larijani, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator.

That meeting ended with Iran offering to divulge information long sought by IAEA experts trying to establish whether the Islamic republic’s past nuclear activists were secretly aimed at trying to make weapons.

The offer fell short of the main purpose of the Solana-Larijani talks – finding a way to bridge an impasse over Iran’s rejection of U.N. Security Council demands that it suspend uranium enrichment.

Still, any decision by Iran to fully cooperate on clearing up past activities would represent a major concession.

The timing of Vaedi’s visit appeared to be the latest attempt by Iran to at least delay the threat of new U.N. sanctions.

An IAEA report two weeks ago provided the potential trigger for U.N. sanctions, saying Iran continued to defy the Security Council and was instead expanding its enrichment activities.

The report was also critical of Iran’s refusal to answer questions about nearly two decades of clandestine nuclear activities that first came to light four years ago.

The concerns include: traces of enriched uranium at a facility linked to the military, which could be a sign of a weapons program; lack of documentation on Iran’s past enrichment activities, and possession of documents showing how to form uranium metal into the form of missile warheads.

The IAEA’s 35-nation board of governors meets on Monday to discuss Iran’s nuclear defiance.

Iran insists its enrichment program is only for meeting future power needs and argues it is entitled to pursue the technology under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. But suspicions the program could be used to produce fissionable material for weapons have led to two sets of U.N. sanctions.

With disagreements within the Security Council over what kind of new sanctions should be imposed and how quickly, the diplomats said the United States was looking to play up new evidence of Iranian nuclear defiance at the IAEA board meeting. The diplomats, who were all involved in international attempts to persuade Iran to give up enrichment, demanded anonymity because their information was confidential.

Such evidence could include Iran’s decision earlier this year to annul part of an agreement linked to the Nonproliferation Treaty under which the country is obligated to report promptly any decision to build a new nuclear facility or expand an existing one.

One of the diplomats said the Americans failed to get support for an IAEA board resolution stating that Iran was in noncompliance with its NPT obligations for its refusal to allow agency inspections of its Arak heavy water reactor. The reactor, once completed sometime in the next decade, will produce plutonium, like enriched uranium a possible pathway to nuclear arms. But he said the U.S. would continue to press its case in hopes of raising Security Council sentiment for new sanctions.

On the Net: The International Atomic Energy Agency: www.iaea.org

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