IAEA, US hikes pressure on Iran

Eurasia News

Nuclear talks between Iran and the UN atomic agency failed yet again Wednesday, as the top US diplomat in separate six-party negotiations warned Washington’s patience was wearing thin.

As the EU’s foreign policy chief prepared to meet Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator in Istanbul for the first time since a fruitless effort in early April, the UN body’s chief inspector admitted parallel Vienna talks had ended without a deal.

The IAEA wants Iran to grant access to sites, documents and scientists involved in Tehran’s alleged efforts to develop atomic weapons, which the agency suspects mostly took place before 2003 but are possibly still on-going.

Iran says the IAEA’s findings are based on faulty intelligence from foreign spy agencies such as the CIA and Israel’s Mossad — intelligence it complains it has not even been allowed to see.

Nine rounds of talks since the publication of a major IAEA report in November 2011 have produced no breakthrough.

Wendy Sherman, the head of the US delegation in parallel six-party talks with Iran, meanwhile indicated growing frustration in Washington over the lack of progress, and not just between Iran and the IAEA.

A senior US Treasury official, David Cohen, also said Wednesday that the United States was aiming to block gold sales to Iranians to boost pressure on the already embattled rial currency.

Israel, the Middle East’s sole if undeclared nuclear-armed state meanwhile has refused to rule out military action on Iran — as has US President Barack Obama.