Iran, U.N. Reach Nuclear Deal

11/12/13
 
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from The Wall Street Journal,
11/11/13:

Kerry Says Major Powers Were Unified During Weekend Nuclear Talks.

Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, left, and International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano,

Iran agreed Monday to allow the United Nations to conduct additional inspections of its nuclear sites after failing over the weekend to reach a deal with six world powers on more extensive concessions.

Secretary of State John Kerry said the confidence-building deal under discussion in Geneva over the weekend broke down because Iran rebuffed an offer that diplomats on the other side were united behind. It called for Tehran to curb some nuclear activities in exchange for easing punishing international economic sanctions.

Under the new accord, Iran will give inspectors from the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, more regular access to several significant parts of the country’s nuclear infrastructure. However, it falls well short of Western demands that Iran open all sensitive sites as part of efforts to prevent the country from eventually attaining a nuclear weapon.

Nevertheless, Western diplomats said the IAEA accord was a step in the right direction.

The agreement could renew hopes that Iran is prepared to make further concessions to reach a first-step deal with the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany, the P5+1 diplomatic bloc.

Iran agreed Monday to provide IAEA inspectors regular access to a uranium mine, to a heavy-water production plant and to any new research reactors built within the next three months. Inspectors have visited the sites, but they haven’t had routine access to them.

Two key issues were left out of the agreement. It doesn’t give the IAEA access to a large military site called Parchin about 18 miles south of Tehran, where the Iranians are suspected of conducting high-explosives testing.

The deal maintains some restrictions on IAEA inspections at the Arak heavy-water reactor, which will be able to produce plutonium when it begins operating as early as next year. Inspectors will win regular access to a heavy-water production plant that will feed Arak.

One person familiar with the negotiations said it covered only the “easy pickings” for Iran. to open up access.

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