Vienna/Tehran, July 3 (IANS) The UN nuclear watchdog chief on Friday said he now has “a better understanding on some ways forward” over enhancing the transparency of Iran’s controversial nuclear activities.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director general Yukiya Amano met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Ali Shamkhani, head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, in Tehran on Thursday, Xinhua news agency reported.
Amano visited Iran in the context of the IAEA’s continued engagement with Iran and the EU+3 countries — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US — as they work toward a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
“I believe that both sides have a better understanding on some ways forward, though more work will be needed,” Amano said.
It is believed that Amano’s Iran visit aims to find a solution to the past so-called “possible military dimensions” of Iranian nuclear activities and to enhance the monitoring measures on Iran’s current and future nuclear plan.
The EU+3 countries want strengthened monitoring measures to ensure that Tehran complies with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and its commitment to the comprehensive deal once the accord is agreed on.
“In the course of the meetings, the two sides reached a general understanding about the timetable (and) continuation of cooperation by taking into account Iran and the agency’s considerations for accelerating the settlement of the past issues,” Iran’s Ambassador to the IAEA Reza Najafi was quoted by Iranian media as saying.
Najafi also noted that “coordination meetings” would be held soon to define the details and the timetable for measures the two sides would take at the level of experts.
But it is still unclear whether the visit has led to substantial progress, as Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said before the talks that UN inspectors would not be allowed to visit military sites.
The IAEA has long been asking Iran to grant the nuclear inspectors access to some military sites to verify if nuclear-related activities have taken place there, a request Tehran sees as an excessive demand beyond the NPT safeguards agreement and Iran’s obligation.
In his meeting with Amano on Thursday, President Rouhani called on the IAEA to operate independently from world powers to help solve pending issues about the nuclear programme in the Islamic Republic.
The official Iranian news agency IRNA reported on Friday that Rouhani’s meeting with Amano was designed to accelerate the resolution of problematic terms, including a possible militarised nuclear programme.
“The IAEA should play a conspicuous role in this juncture when talks with the P5+1 (the US, Russia, France, Britain, China plus Germany) are approaching the final stage,” the president said.
Rouhani further noted that if there was “necessary will in both sides and some non-technical issues should not interfere, some differences can be fully resolved in a short period of time”.
The president said that Iran has had a long and “transparent cooperation” with the IAEA, while inspectors have proven that “the accusations on Iran’s diversion from nuclear activities have been baseless”.
Amano acknowledged and thanked Iran for its cooperation with the IAEA and said that the country has always met its commitments, while adding that with mutual respect and close cooperation all matters could be resolved.
He also expressed his hope that the report his agency issues upon the completion of his trip to Tehran would help make the ongoing nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 successful.