IAEA and Iranian officials will discuss Tehran's contested nuclear drive Friday. Iran could help its case by offering IAEA inspectors access to the Parchin nuclear site, officials and documents for a forthcoming report.
The August 24 meeting will allow "further discussions on a structured approach to resolve outstanding issues relating to Iran's nuclear program," the International Atomic Energy Agency announced. The report, expected to show Tehran pressing ahead with its uranium enrichment program, will be submitted to the agency's 35-nation governing board, which will meet again September 10-14, with Iran likely to continue dominating the agenda. The IAEA has failed to persuade Iran to stop stonewalling inquiry into illicit nuclear weapons research.
The IAEA has pressed Iran for immediate access to the Parchin military complex, where it believes tests for development of nuclear arms have taken place. Diplomats suspect that Iran has been purging the site of evidence, a charge Tehran has dismissed.
Analysts say Iran appears to have used IAEA negotiations to gain leverage in fruitless meetings with world powers. The six countries - the United States, France, Russia, Germany, Britain and China - also want Iran's full cooperation with the UN watchdog. However, their more immediate demand is that Iran stop activity that could give it the capability to build atom bombs.
Tehran seeks recognition of what it says is its legal right to enrich uranium, which can yield either fuel for nuclear power stations or for bombs, and a lifting of harsh economic sanctions targeting its economically vital oil exports.
Iran denies allegations that it is seeking to develop the capability to make nuclear bombs, claiming that it is producing isotopes for medical and agricultural use. However, Iran's refusal to be more transparent about its program has led to the tougher sanctions and sparked speculation that Israel might attack nuclear sites.
mkg/ rc (AFP, Reuters)