World powers seeking to resolve a decade-old dispute over Iran’s atomic activity and avert the threat of a new Middle East war closely watched the IAEA-Iran talks for any indication of Iranian readiness to finally start addressing their concerns.
The IAEA said also after talks in May that it expected an agreement soon, but that failed to materialize.
“We have now had so many false starts that there are grounds to be skeptical,” said Shashank Joshi, a senior fellow and Middle East specialist at the Royal United Services Institute.
Western diplomats, who often accused Iran of stonewalling and playing for time in its dealings with the IAEA, are likely to react cautiously and tell Tehran it must engage in substance on the agency’s inquiry and immediately give it the access to sites, officials and documents it needs for its inquiry.
The Vienna-based U.N. agency believes Iran has conducted explosives tests with possible nuclear applications at Parchin, southeast of Tehran, and has repeatedly asked for access. .
Western diplomats say Iran has carried out extensive work at Parchin in the past year, including demolition of buildings and removal of soil, to cleanse it of any traces of illicit activity. The IAEA says a visit would still be useful.