Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran’s nuclear program. As the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran’s commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Iran and the P5 + 1 negotiators headed into a closed session of talks at the United Nations on Friday.
The talks began a day after Iran was urged to address possible “military dimensions” of its nuclear program by U.S. envoy Laura Kennedy.
“Only when this happens will it be possible to have confidence that Iran’s nuclear program is, and will remain, exclusively peaceful,” she said.
But, Iran’s ambassador Reza Najafi said a recent report by the International Atomic Energy Agency shows his country has been cooperative.
“This report also shows that the IAEA has continuously confirmed that Iran has honored its voluntary commitments under the joint plan of action which agreed with the EU 3+3 last November,” said Najafi.
Iran says it needs enriched uranium for civilian uses. The country rejects Western claims that it is trying to make nuclear weapons.
Nuclear analyst James Acton with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said he’s not certain negotiators can bridge gaps in New York.
“I am not overly pessimistic about the diplomatic process as a whole, but I think these particular negotiations in New York are not going to lead to much,” he said.
Acton said he expects the pace of progress to quicken as the two sides approach a November deadline for an agreement that could give Iran sanctions relief and ease concerns about its nuclear goals.