Connect to share and comment

UN weapons experts to depart for Iran as nuclear talks may restart

Iran has not expressly agreed to discuss its nuclear program when an IAEA team travels to Tehran on Saturday but the mere fact that they are permitting its entry is significant.

Irannuclear2012127Enlarge
Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Said Jalili, prays during Friday prayers at the Blue mosque on Jan 21 in Istanbul. (ALI HASSAN POUR/AFP/Getty Images)

Two weapons experts will be among a delegation from the UN nuclear agency set to travel Saturday to Iran, which several governments and the UN accuse of building a nuclear bomb, according to The Associated Press .

Under intense pressure from Western countries and facing a stinging array of sanctions targeting its banks and oil exports, Iran has in recent weeks agreed both to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency and reengage in nuclear talks with Western powers.

This reverses a position of three years.

More from GlobalPost: Iran agrees to discuss nuclear bomb allegations with the IAEA

According to the AP, the fact that two weapons experts will be sent to Tehran sends the unusually clear message that the UN body is intently focused on verifying allegations that the Islamic Republic has for years secretly been developing a nuclear bomb.

Citing diplomatic sources in Viena, the seat of the IAEA, the AP reported that Iran had agreed to allow the weapons experts to be included in the team.

Weapons experts Jack Baute of France and Neville Whiting of Britain are to accompany Herman Nackaerts, the senior-most IAEA official in charge of matters Iranian.

But diplomats said Iran has made no express promise that nuclear matters will be discussed at all during the IAEA’s visit, according to the AP.

In a November report, the UN nuclear agency said some of Iran’s alleged nuclear experiments could have no purpose other than developing nuclear weapons.

More from GlobalPost: Iran unlikely to develop nuclear weapon in 2012 - ISIS report

In a related development, Reuters reported today that David Cohen, the top US Treasury Department official in charge of combating terrorism finance, would travel to Britain, Germany and Switzerland next week to discuss enforcing new sanctions against Iran’s central bank.

The US earlier this month slapped sanctions on Iran’s central bank, Bank Markazi, in another punitive measure over Iran’s nuclear program.
 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/120127/un-weapons-experts-depart-iran-nuclear-talks-may-restart