IAEA Chief Says Not Optimistic on Iran Nuclear Talks


Jerusalem, Jan. 13 – The director of the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog agency is pessimistic that Iran will end years of obstinacy and begin cooperating with the international community in talks scheduled for later this month.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Yukiya Amano said the “outlook is not bright" for hopes that his agency will be able to resume its stalled investigation into suspected atom-bomb research by Iran. The IAEA wants access to a military base Western powers suspect has been used for nuclear weapons-related work.

"Talks with Iran don't proceed in a linear way. It's one step forward, two or three steps back...So we can't say we have an optimistic outlook" for the meeting slated for this month, Amano said.

Western diplomats say Iran has worked for the past year to cleanse its top-secret Parchin nuclear facility of any evidence of illicit activities, Reuters reported. The Islamic republic has been under increasingly-harsh international sanctions over its refusal to abide by repeated U.N. Security Council resolutions demanding it open its nuclear program to inspection.

Iran’s image appears to be suffering, according to a global-attitudes poll that shows it is one of the most unpopular countries in the world.The Washington Post commented: “It doesn’t give you much faith in Iran’s supposed leadership of the Muslim world that they’re not even liked in most surveyed countries.”

The only country to give Iran a positive rating was Pakistan, while in the Arab world the best Iran could do was a 39% rating in Lebanon. Despite Tehran’s massive intervention in their country through its proxy Hezbollah militia, the majority of Lebanese appear to dislike Iran’s meddling that dragged Lebanon into a war with Israel after Hezbollah launched an unprovoked attack in 2006.

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