The U.N. nuclear watchdog and Iran have agreed to hold talks in Vienna on Friday, IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said Monday, calling on Tehran to sign a deal clarifying issues over its atomic drive.
“A meeting between Iran and the agency has been scheduled for 8 June in Vienna,” Amano told the International Atomic Energy Agency’s 35-member board of governors at the start of a week-long meeting.
“I invite Iran to sign and implement the Structured Approach document as soon as possible and to provide early access to the Parchin site,” Amano said, referring to a military base near Tehran.
The IAEA is seeking an accord with Tehran to guarantee swift and unconditional access to sites, people and documents related to the Islamic republic’s nuclear program.
After a visit to Tehran on May 21, where he met Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, Amano said an accord could be signed “quite soon,” but there is still no sign of any agreement.
Part of the agreement would involve the Parchin base, where the IAEA believes suspicious explosives testing was carried out.
The agency has been seeking access to the site for months, but has so far been denied by Iran, which says Parchin is of no relevance to its nuclear program, and it is not obliged to allow inspections.
In its latest report last month, the IAEA said new satellite imagery of Parchin indicated “extensive activities” at the base, including the razing of two buildings and what experts have described as a clean-up at the base.
This “could hamper the agency’s ability to undertake effective verification” of the site, the IAEA report warned.
Israel renewed its criticism of Iran’s atomic agenda on Wednesday, accusing Tehran of working covertly on nuclear weapons while deceiving the international community by saying it does not want such arms.
An Israeli delegate to the IAEA said Iran had been working under a strategy he dubbed as “deception, defiance and concealment.”
Iran dismisses IAEA and international suspicions that it may have worked covertly on nuclear weapons and insists it has no interest in possessing such arms, saying its disputed uranium enrichment program is geared only toward generating nuclear fuel.
Israel is particularly critical, noting that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for the eradication of Israel. It and the United States have not ruled out military strikes against the Islamic Republic if diplomacy fails to curb a nuclear program they see as a cover for making weapons. While Wednesday’s comments from Israel were not new, they mirrored the high tensions that could result in such an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities