Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is slated to meet with the European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Brussels on Monday, September 1st to discuss Iran’s nuclear program. This occurs during an extension of the deadline to reach a comprehensive agreement until November 24th of this year.
Among some of the topics which may be discussed during this meeting, Iran’s denial of the IAEA’s revisit to the Parchin military site may certainly be touched upon. International concerns of Iran potentially using this site to test components used in nuclear weapons sparked the UN’s desire to revisit the site, in order to verify that Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons capability. Iran’s concern, however, is that its military capabilities may be leaked to Israel or the U.S., both of whom have threatened to take military action should Iran plan to acquire nuclear weapons. Iran’s reluctance is nevertheless alarming since further unwillingness to cooperate could derail attempts to reach an agreement come November.
Iran, however, continues to insist that they are following the nuclear steps which were agreed upon with the IAEA. Last Saturday, Iran inaugurated a new facility in Isfahan to convert uranium hexafluoride (used to make fuel for nuclear weapons) into uranium dioxide, which could only be used in reactors for peaceful purposes. Steps such as these could reduce the international community’s fears of Iran having the capability to divert nuclear material for weaponization. However, Iran must continue to seek transparency in its nuclear program; reluctance in doing so, such as the case of Parchin, will not facilitate any diplomatic agreement.
ASP supports the extension of the Iran negotiations and believes that the best way to resolve the Iranian nuclear crisis is through diplomatic means. For further reading, please see:
Theresa Shaffer is a nuclear security researcher and intern at the American Security Project. She is a recent graduate of the University of North Texas with degrees in International Studies and French. You can follow her on twitter here: Theresa Shaffer