A week before negotiations begin between Iran and the six world powers over a permanent agreement on Tehran's nuclear plan, parallel talks between the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran have borne significant fruit.
For the first time in a decade, the Islamic Republic has agreed to address IAEA concerns about possible military dimensions of its nuclear program.
As part of the understandings reached between the two, Iran has agreed to provide the IAEA with "information and explanations" regarding the necessity of developing exploding-bridgewire detonators (EBW). Despite the fact that such detonators also serve civilian purposes, their components can be used to build a nuclear bomb.
Iran's willingness to provide information on experiments it allegedly with nuclear detonators is a step forward as far as cooperation between Tehran and the IAEA. However, at this stage the Iranians are still refusing to allow IAEA inspectors to enter their Parchin military base, where it suspects Iran is conducting tests for the production of nuclear weapon components.
The IAEA has announced another six steps Iran has agreed to take by May 15: Allowing IAEA inspectors to enter Iran's uranium mine near the city of Yazed and provide information on its production; provide information on the uranium storage site Ardakan; provide technical specifications and plans for the heavy water reactor in Arak, which the West and Israel suspect Iran is using to process plutonium for an atom bomb; allowing IAEA inspectors to visit the uranium enrichment site in the city of Lashkar Abad with the help of a laser; provide IAEA with detailed information on the uranium that they imported from other countries, and information on their extraction of uranium from phosphates.
On Tuesday February 18, the talks will begin in Vienna. The negotiations are expected to last about half a year, during which the sides will try to reach an agreement that will enable Iran to maintain its civilian nuclear program, but substantially decrease its uranium enrichment infrastructure in a way that will stave off its progress towards a nuclear weapon by between a year and two years.
Before Iran and the IAEA announced the steps Sunday morning, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the communication with Iran, claiming that the easing of international sanctions only led Iran to more extreme terror operations. "The international community is reducing sanctions on Iran – and Iran is increasing its international aggression. This is the real result of the steps until now," Netanyahu said at the weekly cabinet meeting in the Knesset.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now