UN nuclear chief positive ahead of Iran trip
Published Sunday, May 20, 2012
The United Nations nuclear watchdog chief said he did not expect to go to Iran's Parchin military site during his visit to the Islamic state but was positive about his talks with Iranian officials scheduled for Monday.
Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, expressed hope that he would be able to secure an agreement with Iran on addressing the IAEA's concerns about possible military dimensions to the country's nuclear work.
"I really think this is the right time to try to reach agreement," he told reporters at Vienna airport on Sunday before flying to the Iranian capital, where he was due to arrive early the following morning.
"Good progress" was made during last week's talks between senior IAEA officials and an Iranian envoy in Vienna, he said.
"Nothing is certain but let's stay positive," the veteran Japanese diplomat added.
Amano will meet Iranian chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili in Tehran on Monday, two days before the Islamic Republic and six world powers hold broader negotiations in Baghdad about their nuclear dispute.
Amano said the two processes were separate but expressed hope they would have a "positive impact" on each other.
The nuclear watchdog wants access to sites, officials and documents to shed light on activities in Iran that could be used to develop the capability to make nuclear weapons, especially the Parchin military complex southeast of Tehran.
Asked whether he would be prepared to go to Parchin if the opportunity was offered to him, he said: "I don't think so. This visit is very short and I'm not an inspector."
Two meetings between Iran and senior Amano aides in Tehran in January and February failed to make any notable progress. But both sides were more upbeat after the round of talks in Vienna on May 14-15, raising hopes they were making headway.