World powers to give Iran a break at U.N. nuclear talks, for now

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World powers will be giving Iran an unusual break at a U.N. atomic agency meeting starting Monday, in order not to jeopardize the diplomatic efforts with the conciliatory-sounding new government.

Diplomats said, however, that if there was no real progress by the next quarterly gathering in November of the IAEA’s 35-nation board of governors, Iran would again feel the heat.

“Things have changed on the ground in Iran. We have a new government, a new president and there has been a change in tone from the Iranian government, which we recognize and welcome,” one senior Western envoy was quoted as saying by AFP.

The quarterly meetings of the IAEA's board usually deal with Iran’s nuclear program, which many countries suspect is for the for the purpose of getting atomic weapons.

The agency's latest regular report on Iran last month showed, yet again, that Tehran is defiantly expanding its activities despite a string of U.N. Security Council and IAEA board resolutions demanding a suspension reported AFP.

Several rounds of U.N. sanctions, supported not only by the West but also by Russia and China and others, have been imposed on Iran. Additional EU and U.S. restrictions last year began targeting its oil sector and banks.

The United States and Israel, have refused to rule out bombing the Persian Gulf country, while many diplomatic initiatives have failed over the past decade, including the last meeting between Iran and the six permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany) in Kazakhstan in April.

The election in June of Hassan Rowhani, a former nuclear negotiator has created some hope, he replaces the more hardline Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

At his first press conference in August, Rowhani urged “serious” talks, and has handed responsibility for nuclear talks to the foreign ministry under the U.S.-educated moderate Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Rowhani has also appointed a new Iranian envoy to the IAEA, Reza Najafi, ahead of a meeting with the watchdog in Vienna on September 27, and former foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi as head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization.

(With AFP)

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