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Iran Putting Out Hopeful Signals Ahead of Amano Meeting in Tehran, Resumption of P5+1 Talks Wednesday

Although today’s meeting with IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano in Tehran  is still in process as of this writing, Iran has put out very hopeful signals ahead of both this meeting and the resumption on Wednesday of the P5+1 talks in Baghdad. Adding to the atmosphere that a deal could be in the works are some positive words from Amano himself:

Before his arrival in Tehran Amano told reporters, “I really think this is the right time to reach agreement. Nothing is certain but I stay positive.” Amano added “good progress” had already been made.

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“We need to keep up the momentum. There has been good progress during the recent round of discussions between Iran and the IAEA,” Reuters quoted Amano as saying.

The same Mehr News piece carried upbeat news from the Iranian side as well:

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi had said he hoped an agreement would be reached to devise a “new modality” between Iran and the IAEA during Amano’s visit.

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“Iran had previously invited IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano to make a trip to Iran, but he decided to travel to Tehran and hold talks with our country’s officials before the Baghdad talks,” Salehi said.

“We regard the visit by the agency’s director general as a gesture of goodwill,” Salehi stated. “The focus will be on the issue of modality and a new working modality to help clear up the ambiguities and (answer) the agency’s questions. And we hope that an agreement will be reached between both sides to devise a new modality.”

Fars News has the details on who is taking part in today’s meeting:

Amano, accompanied by his chief inspector Herman Nackaerts and number two Rafael Mariano Grossi, was welcomed at the airport by Iran’s IAEA envoy, Ali Asqar Soltaniyeh, and a number of other officials.

During his one-day stay, Amano will hold talks with Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Fereidoun Abbassi Davani, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Saeed Jalili and Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi.

The high levels of the participants on both sides of the talks do suggest that a deal could be imminent, and Fars collected a number of statements from diplomats agreeing: Read more

Iran Moves Toward Opening Parchin to IAEA; Warrick Surprisingly Disrupts Israel’s “Zone of Immunity” Argument

In a long interview with RT, Iran’s envoy to the IAEA, Ali Asqar Soltaniyeh, explained yet again that Iran’s position is that the team from the IAEA that visited Iran earlier this month was not the appropriate set of inspectors to visit the Parchin site. The IAEA has accused Iran of using this facility to develop technology for explosive triggers that could be used in a nuclear weapon. Iran was working under the impression that this group was meant for negotiations aimed setting ground rules for upcoming inspections.

Working along those lines, Soltaniyeh told RT that Iran has not ruled out a future IAEA visit to Parchin:

The IAEA delegation that visited Tehran recently was comprised of experts on legal, political and technical issues and not inspectors, Soltaniyeh said in an interview with Russian RT television.

The group visited Iran for negotiations on reality and framework of mutual cooperation, he said.

Iran does not rule out the access of IAEA to its military sites such as Parchin but this depends on some preconditions which IAEA should meet, Soltaniyeh said.

Weakening his own argument somewhat, Soltaniyeh went on to tell RT that Iran had offered to allow the IAEA team to inspect a different site at which the IAEA had accused Iran of carrying out high explosives work:

“I just want to tell you that last week, perhaps this is the first time I am telling you, we, in fact, offered the agency to go to another site which the director general in his report has referred to as a large scale high-explosive test. We offered, but the team was instructed by the director general to go back to Vienna. Therefore we don’t have any hesitation that every activity we have has nothing to do with nuclear weapons.”

In the video, Soltaniyeh also points out that IAEA inspectors did visit Parchin twice in 2005, as we were reminded earlier by Moon of Alabama.

In a somewhat related, but entirely unexpected move, Joby Warrick has moved off his role of transcribing only information that paints Iran in a bad light to provide information that removes one of the primary justifications Israel has been advancing as the basis for a unilateral attack on Iran. Earlier this month, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak introduced the concept of a “zone of immunity” that Iran could enter wherein their final progress toward a nuclear weapon could not be disrupted:  Read more