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Israel skeptical on Iran nuke deal
Defense Minister Barak: Iran trying to create impression of progress in nuke talks, world's demands must be unequivocal; IAEA chief says optimistic about reaching agreement with Tehran

Israeli officials are expressing skepticism over reports that an agreement that would allow the UN to monitor Iran's nuclear facilities will be signed soon, saying that such deal would not halt Tehran's nuclear work.

 

Addressing reports of an imminent deal, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said: "It appears that the Iranians are attempting to reach a technical deal, which will create an impression of progress in the talks, in order to ease some of the pressure ahead of the talks in Baghdad tomorrow."

 

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The international community must not make any concessions to Iran, Barak said, adding that "the demands of world powers must be clear and unequivocal."

 

Meanwhile, a senior diplomatic official said that "skepticism is stronger than the possibility of congratulations. We already saw what happened to past agreements between Iran and the IAEA…the facility in Natanz and other sites were set up right under their noses."

 

"North Korea also reached agreements with the IAEA, and later carried out explosions," he said. "The Syrians too were monitored, yet continued their secret activity."

 

IAEA chief: Deal with Iran soon

Earlier Tuesday, the UN nuclear watchdog chief said he expected to sign a deal with Iran soon to boost its cooperation with an investigation into Tehran's disputed atomic activity, although differences remained.

 

Yukiya Amano, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), spoke a day after holding rare talks in Tehran and a day before Iran and six world powers will hold broader negotiations on the extent of Tehran's nuclear program.


החתימה תיעשה בקרוב. אדריכל ההסכם אמנו וג'לילי האיראני (צילום: AP)

'Some differences remain.' Amano (L) and Jalili (Photo: AP)  

 

"(A) decision was made to conclude and sign the agreement ... I can say it will be signed quite soon," Amano told reporters at Vienna airport after returning from Tehran.

 

Amano, who had been looking for a deal giving his inspectors a freer hand to investigate suspected atomic bomb research in Iran, described the outcome of his meetings in Iran as an "important development."

 

He said "some differences" remained but that Iranian chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili had told him these would not pose an obstacle to an agreement.

 

'We remain concerned' 

Jalili on Wednesday will sit down in Baghdad with senior officials from the six world powers involved in efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear stand-off peacefully.

 

"We understand each other's position better," Amano said about his talks with Jalili and other Iranian officials.

 

He said he had raised the issue of access to the Parchin military site - an IAEA priority in its inquiry - and that this would be addressed as part of the agreement's implementation.

 

Earlier, senior officials in Jerusalem said they are not optimistic over the reports of an agreement with Iran vis-à-vis nuclear supervision.

 

According to one official, "when the Iranians agree to supervision it means they have either halted activities in those specific facilities where they are willing to accept supervision or they have other tricks in mind."

 

Robert Wood, the acting US envoy to the IAEA, said in response to the Amano's statement that Iran must cooperate urgently with the UN nuclear watchdog in its investigation into Tehran's atomic activities.

 

"While we appreciate the efforts (by the IAEA) to conclude a substantive agreement, we remain concerned by the urgent obligation for Iran to take concrete steps to cooperate fully (with the agency)," Wood said.

 

Reuters and Moran Azoulay contributed to the report

 

 

 


First published: 22.05.12, 12:37
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