“Concessions, positive signals from Iran ahead of IAEA report”

“Concessions, positive signals from Iran ahead of IAEA report”
August 20-24, 2009
     Iran has allowed IAEA inspectors to visit the Arak heavy water reactor, lifting a year-long ban, and agreed to expand monitoring of the Natanz uranium enrichment site ahead of the IAEA’s upcoming Iran report. However, one Western official argues that Iran “always” makes concessions to the IAEA ahead of critical reports in order to avoid punitive action (Guardian). Reza Derakhshi reports that Western diplomats are skeptical of Iran’s latest concessions (Reuters), and a US official has stated that Iran “is still not in compliance with its IAEA obligations” (Reuters (2)).
     Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s decision to retain the “soft-spoken” and “levelheaded” Manouchehr Mottaki as foreign minister has been welcomed by Western diplomats as a sign that Tehran will not harden its stance on the nuclear issue. Ahmad Bakhshayesh argues that Ahmadinejad is seeking continuity in foreign policy amid domestic instability (Los Angeles Times). Michael Slackman also cites the appointment of Ali Akbar Salehi as head of Iran’s nuclear agency [previously covered here] as another sign that Ahmadinejad may be willing to enter international talks on the nuclear issue. Some analysts cautiously speculate that Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei may be hoping to improve the economy by avoiding sanctions and regain credibility by resolving the nuclear issue, although political infighting in Tehran could limit the possibility of any such progress (New York Times).
Guardian | Reuters | Reuters (2) | Los Angeles Times | New York Times

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