The Associated Press reported Wednesday that an investigation by the UN’s nuclear watchdog into Iran’s atomic program had stalled, with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) expected to issue a report noting as much and emphasizing that Iranian officials had failed to provide the information that the agency required to enhance transparency around what is widely believed to be an Iranian drive to acquire nuclear weapons:
Expectations were high just two weeks ago, when chief U.N. nuclear inspector Yukiya Amano emerged from talks in Tehran with Iranian President Hasan Rouhani saying Iran had given “a firm commitment” to cooperation and suggesting that years of deadlock had been broken.
But two diplomats told The Associated Press that the International Atomic Energy Agency will issue a confidential report this week saying that Iran hasn’t provided information to substantially advance the probe, a finding that could affect talks between Iran and six major powers.
Reuters had already last week conveyed similar statements from diplomatic sources stating that “they had seen no indications so far that Tehran had replied in substance to questions from the [IAEA] by the agreed Aug. 25 date.”
There is now substantial speculation that the ongoing Iranian intransigency may – per the AP – “dampen U.S. hopes of reaching an overarching deal with Tehran by a November deadline” set under the current Joint Plan of Action (JPA) guiding negotiations. The developments however come just a few days after top Iranian officials expressed optimism that the West would indeed ink a nuclear accord by the November expiration date:
Javad Zarif met with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who chairs the six-power group that negotiates with Iran over its nuclear program.
“We had a good discussion today with her,” he said in a news conference after meeting Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders. “I am quite optimistic after discussions with Lady Ashton that we can in fact resolve this issue in time.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif subsequently declared that the upcoming appointment of Federica Mogherini to be the European Union’s new foreign policy chief offered an opportunity to increase the tempo of Iranian-European rapprochement.
Western diplomats announced Wednesday that the next round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 global powers will launch on September 18 in New York.
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