Iran Nuclear NewsUN watchdog cancels meeting to allow more talks on...

UN watchdog cancels meeting to allow more talks on Iran

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AFP: The UN atomic agency has cancelled a planned formal meeting Wednesday on Iran’s nuclear program because diplomats remain locked in closed-door talks on an EU proposal to stop fuel cycle work, a spokesman here said. The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) 35-nation board of governors is expected to meet again on Thursday. AFP

VIENNA – The UN atomic agency has cancelled a planned formal meeting Wednesday on Iran’s nuclear program because diplomats remain locked in closed-door talks on an EU proposal to stop fuel cycle work, a spokesman here said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) 35-nation board of governors is expected to meet again on Thursday.

“It’s off,” IAEA spokesman Peter Rickwood said about the day’s session of the board, which had begun meeting Tuesday, adding that the diplomats “just need more time.”

The European Union, which has been negotiating with Iran on obtaining guarantees that the Iranians are not making nuclear weapons, is trying to win approval for a draft resolution calling on Iran to reverse its decision to push ahead with nuclear fuel work.

A diplomat close to the IAEA said non-aligned nations on the board “do not want a resolution on Iran”, preferring instead the weaker option of a simple statement from the board’s chairman. Iran is not on the board but is a non-aligned country.

But, the diplomat said, Western countries “feel the credibility of the board is at stake because Iran has ignored so many of the board’s resolutions,” including ones last September and November calling on Iran not to make nuclear fuel, which powers civilian reactors but can also be used to make atom bobms.

Iran on Monday lifted the suspension of nuclear work it had honored since November in order to get talks with the EU started. It began uranium conversion at a facility in Isfahan and Wednesday was to widen this by breaking IAEA seals at the site, according to reports from Tehran.

In Tehran, Gholamreza Aghazadeh, head of Iran’s nuclear energy agency, told state television that seals the IAEA had placed on Iran’s Isfahan uranium conversion plant would be removed on Wednesday, making that facility fully active.

Conversion turns uranium ore, or yellowcake, into the feed gas for enriching uranium.

“They have crossed the Rubicon and now they are continuing,” an EU diplomat said about the Iranian fuel work.

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