IAEA Visit May Be Iran’s Chance to Stem War Concerns Over Nuclear Program [View all]
By Jonathan Tirone - Sun Feb 19 20:00:02 GMT 2012
United Nations investigators begin two days of meetings in Iran today, offering Tehran’s government a chance to stem growing speculation the country’s nuclear program will spark a military conflict.
Officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency flew to the Iranian capital yesterday for their second round of talks in a month. The visit begins a week after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said his country will boost production of 20 percent enriched uranium at a mountainside location in Fordo.
“This meeting is a crucial opportunity for everyone, including the Iranians, to get serious,” Arms Control Association Director Daryl Kimball said in a telephone interview from Vienna. “Getting serious means focusing on the near-term problem that 20 percent enriched uranium represents” which drives the “hysterical war talk in some quarters.”
The simmering conflict over Iran’s nuclear work has driven oil prices higher. Israel and the U.S. have refused to rule out military action against Iranian nuclear sites to prevent the country from acquiring a weapon. Iran, which hid its work for more than a decade before 2003, says it wants nuclear power for peaceful purposes.