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UN Watchdog: No Sign of Breakthrough on Iranian Weapons Transparency

Reuters reported Tuesday night that efforts by the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog (IAEA) to force Iran to account for the so-called possible military dimensions (PMD) of its atomic program – efforts that U.S. officials, including President Barack Obama, had repeatedly emphasized are aimed at forcing the Islamic republic to meet its obligation to “come clean” about its past military activities – have shown “no early sign of breakthrough”:

A spokeswoman for the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed the two sides met in Tehran, but said the IAEA was not planning to issue a statement about the talks on Tuesday, leaving open the possibility one might be made later.

Diplomatic sources had said the Vienna-based U.N. agency and Iran were expected to discuss IAEA requests for information about detonators that can, among other things, be used to set off a nuclear explosive device.

The wire understatedly clarified that recent talks revolving around suspected Iranian military involvement – which range from military entanglement in uranium mining to detonations related to the production of nuclear warheads – had ended without it being “immediately clear whether any headway was made.”

Iranian foot dragging on its obligations to “come clean” have recently emerged as a central sticking point in negotiations, with Reuters having specifically reported last week that functionally no progress had been made in compelling Tehran to account for tests involving Explosive Bridge Wire detonators, which the outlet noted was “seen as a litmus test of its readiness to begin cooperating with a long-stonewalled investigation into what the Vienna-based U.N. body calls the possible military dimensions (PMD) of the country’s nuclear program.”

The issue goes beyond the symbolic, and into the viability of any deal designed to put Iran’s nuclear program beyond use for weaponization. David Albright and Serena Kelleher-Vergantini – respectively the president and a research analyst at ISIS – had been blunt that any agreement that did not include Iran accounting for “the past and possibly on-going military dimensions of its nuclear program would undermine the verifiability of the deal, and thus the credibility of a comprehensive deal, in addition to the credibility of the Obama administration.”

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