IAEA inspectors cite “good” talks in Iran and plan future visit

IAEA inspectors cite “good” talks in Iran and plan future trips After a three-day trip to Iran, the United Nation’s International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) nuclear inspectors have returned citing “good” talks. While they said the six-member IAEA mission was positive they reported that there is still more work to do and hope to return ...

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631595_120201_138039343.jpg

IAEA inspectors cite "good" talks in Iran and plan future trips

After a three-day trip to Iran, the United Nation's International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) nuclear inspectors have returned citing "good" talks. While they said the six-member IAEA mission was positive they reported that there is still more work to do and hope to return to Iran for further discussion on the country's contested nuclear development program. According to the Iranian Fars News Agency both sides had "reached agreement on the continuation of these talks." Iran has been accused of attempting to cultivate nuclear weapons technology, concerns which were heightened after an IAEA report released last November -- though Iran maintains that the program is strictly for energy generation. The IAEA inspectors did not visit any nuclear facilities, but according to Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi:  "We were ready to show them our nuclear facilities, but they didn't ask for it." As tensions have escalated over increasing international sanctions, specifically from the United States and the European Union, Iran was attempting to be accommodating, even offering for the IAEA team to extend the mission. Western diplomats remain concerned that Iran is using dialogue as a means of stalling, but optimism remains for a diplomatic solution.

Headlines        

IAEA inspectors cite “good” talks in Iran and plan future trips

After a three-day trip to Iran, the United Nation’s International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) nuclear inspectors have returned citing “good” talks. While they said the six-member IAEA mission was positive they reported that there is still more work to do and hope to return to Iran for further discussion on the country’s contested nuclear development program. According to the Iranian Fars News Agency both sides had “reached agreement on the continuation of these talks.” Iran has been accused of attempting to cultivate nuclear weapons technology, concerns which were heightened after an IAEA report released last November — though Iran maintains that the program is strictly for energy generation. The IAEA inspectors did not visit any nuclear facilities, but according to Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi:  “We were ready to show them our nuclear facilities, but they didn’t ask for it.” As tensions have escalated over increasing international sanctions, specifically from the United States and the European Union, Iran was attempting to be accommodating, even offering for the IAEA team to extend the mission. Western diplomats remain concerned that Iran is using dialogue as a means of stalling, but optimism remains for a diplomatic solution.

Headlines        

  • After fierce fighting in Damascus’s suburbs, the U.N. Security Council debated a draft resolution on Syria with Russia maintaining it will block military intervention or forced regime change.
  • Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood supporters stopped the advance of anti-military protesters on parliament calling for the transfer to civilian power, spurring violent clashes.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu claimed a large victory in the Likud party primaries and is considering advancing elections to take place before U.S. elections in November.
  • The 25 Chinese workers kidnapped by Bedouins in Sinai were released but raised concerns over deteriorating security in the region since the fall of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Daily Snapshot

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (L) presents the proposed budget to Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani in Tehran on February 1, 2012. A raft of Western economic sanctions on Iran over its controversial nuclear programme are increasingly stifling the lives of ordinary Iranians, hit by rising inflation and growing isolation (AFP/Getty Images). 

Arguments & Analysis

‘Decoding Iraq’s sectarian rivalries’ (Hayder al-Khoei, Foreign Affairs)

“Iraq is not suffering traditional sectarian strife, whereby political disagreements among the elite lead to bloodshed on the streets. Rather, it is afflicted by what could be called intra-sectarian conflict, as rivals within both the country’s Shiite- and Sunni-dominated parties reposition themselves amid the political fray. On the one hand, several members of the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc have defected, suggesting political, not sectarian, motives; on the other hand, two former militant Shiite factions, the Sadrist Movement and the League of the Righteous, have exchanged threats, which could escalate into armed conflict.” 

‘Algeria: reform or securitization of civil society?’ (Melissa Rahmouni, Open Democracy)

“The Algerian economic and bureaucratic model seems unable to offer job opportunities to most young unemployed people, including well-qualified graduate students. It cannot operate without massive corruption on various levels of society and yet does not consider the resolution of our socioeconomic difficulties as a vital priority. Over the last week, anger at housing has unleashed more violent clashes between the population and anti-riot forces in Oran and in the Cité Baraka in Algiers while the number of self-immolations is constantly on the increase. Algeria may celebrate the 50th anniversary of its independence soon, but it is currently going through a pre-electoral turmoil that is particularly explosive and uncertain.”

‘How Obama became vulnerable on Iran’ (Trita Parsi, Salon)

“Though diplomacy had been a winning electoral card in 2008, the assessment in 2009 was that it would be too costly to re-make the case for diplomacy to the American public. A similar political skittishness exists in Iran, where fear of looking soft on America is as paralyzing as the fear of looking weak on Iran is in Washington DC. Rarely has decades-long enmities been overcome through an approach that adjusts to the very political landscape that has created and perpetuated the enmity. Diplomacy takes time, courage, persistence, political capital and the will to spend it.”

    <p>Mary Casey-Baker is the editor of Foreign Policy’s Middle East Daily Brief, as well as the assistant director of public affairs at the Project on Middle East Political Science and assistant editor of The Monkey Cage blog for the Washington Post. </p> Twitter: @casey_mary

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