US de­nies con­ces­sions to Iran on past nu­clear ac­tiv­i­ties

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

The United States de­nied Wed­nes­day mak­ing con­ces­sions to let Iran off the hook by not declar­ing any past mil­i­tary ac­tiv­i­ties re­lat­ing to its sus­pect nu­clear pro­gram.

Six world pow­ers are lead­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions to reach a deal to put an atomic bomb be­yond Iran’s reach, with ten­sions ris­ing as a June 30 dead­line looms.

One of the ma­jor stum­bling blocks has been win­ning ac­cess to Iran’s mil­i­tary sites where Ira­nian sci­en­tists may have de­vel­oped nu­clear arms in the past.

De­spite Iran’s as­ser­tions that its nu­clear pro­gram is purely peace­ful and for civil­ian energy pur­poses only, the U.N. watchdog, the IAEA, has for years said it can­not cer­tify that is true.

Top U.S. diplo­mat John Kerry told re­porters on Tues­day that ne­go­tia­tors were “not fix­ated on Iran specif­i­cally ac­count­ing for what they did at one point in time or another. We know what they did. We have no doubt.”

His spokesman, John Kirby, stressed on Wed­nes­day that Kerry’s words should not be in­ter­preted as drop­ping a long-held in­sis­tence that Ira­nian lead­ers ac­count for past pro­grams.

“The IAEA’s con­cerns about pos­si­ble mil­i­tary di­men­sions past and present, have to be fully ad­dressed be­fore there’s go­ing to be a deal,” Kirby told re­porters.

Kerry “didn’t say, and we’ve never said, that past po­ten­tial mil­i­tary di­men­sions ... don’t mat­ter. Of course, they mat­ter. We wouldn’t be sit­ting down with them hav­ing a ne­go­ti­a­tion about this if it didn’t mat­ter,” Kirby added.

Chief U. S. ne­go­tia­tor Wendy Sher­man was back in Vi­enna Wed­nes­day for new talks with her coun­ter­parts seek­ing to pin down a deal.

De­spite re­cov­er­ing from break­ing his right leg late last month, Kerry has said that he is pre­par­ing to join the ne­go­ti­a­tions ahead of the June 30 dead­line, although no date has yet been set for his travel.

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