The U.N. nuclear watchdog chief said today talks with Iran have been “going around in circles” – unusually blunt criticism pointing to rising tension over suspected nuclear arms research by Tehran that has increased fears of a new Middle East war.
Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, vented growing frustration at the lack of results in getting Iran to address suspicions of military dimensions to its atomic energy program. Tehran denies the accusations.
In hard-hitting comments to the IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors, he also said Iranian advances in building a heavy-water research reactor and in its uranium enrichment work were in “clear contravention” of U.N. Security Council resolutions, dating to 2006, calling for a suspension in such activities.
The IAEA has been trying since early 2012 to engage with the Islamic state over what the Vienna-based U.N. agency calls the “possible military dimensions” to Iran’s nuclear program.
But ten rounds of negotiations in the last 17 months have failed to achieve any breakthrough. Western diplomats accuse Iran of stonewalling the IAEA, an allegation Tehran rejects.
“Despite the intensified dialogue between the agency and Iran since January 2012…, no agreement has been reached on the structured approach document. To be frank, for some time now we have been going around in circles,” said Amano.
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