Iran offers inspectors from U.N. more access
Nuke chief: Move a ‘step forward’
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES | Iran agreed Monday to offer more information and expanded access to U.N. nuclear inspectors, as America’s top diplomat said Iranian envoys had backed away from a wider deal seeking to ease Western concerns that Tehran could one day develop atomic weapons.
The flurry of announcements and comments showed the complexities and urgency in trying to move ahead on an accord between Iran and world powers after talks in Geneva failed to produce a deal that could curb Iran’s uranium enrichment in exchange for a rollback of some U.S.-led economic sanctions.
With negotiators set to resume next week, Iranian officials promoted the pact reached with U.N. nuclear chief Yukiya Amano as a “road map” for greater cooperation and transparency.
But the plans do not mention some of the sites most sought by U.N. teams to probe suspicions of nuclear-related work, notably the Parchin military facility outside Tehran.
“It’s an important step forward, but by no means the end of the process,” Mr. Amano said in Tehran. “There is still much work to be done.”
Western leaders were keen to display unity after suggestions that France had broken ranks in Geneva and demanded more concessions from Iran on enrichment levels and an underconstruction heavy water reactor.
Secretary of State John F. Kerry said it was Iran that put the brakes on reaching a first-phase agreement, but gave no details on the Iranian concerns and suggested it is only a matter of time before a formula is found.
“There was unity, but Iran couldn’t take it,” Mr. Kerry said during a stop in Abu Dhabi. “The French signed off on it, we signed off on it.”
In Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has acknowledged that an overall deal is likely between Iran and world powers, which would undercut Israeli threats to launch military action against Iranian nuclear sites. Yet he hailed the delay as a chance to “achieve a much better deal.”
For Mr. Netanyahu and his backers, however, hopes have all but evaporated that Iran can be forced by negotiators to end its ability to make nuclear fuel. It’s now unclear what type of deal would satisfy Israel, which sees a nucleararmed Iran as a threat to its existence.
Iran has categorically denied it seeks nuclear arms, and insists its only seeks reactors for energy and medical applications.
Iranian officials portrayed the expanded U.N. access as further sign it seeks to work with the West.
Under the plans, Iran would allow inspectors a first-time visit of its Gachin uranium mine on the Gulf coast and give broader access to the heavy water facility being built in the central city of Arak. Heavy water reactors produce a greater amount of plutonium byproduct than conventional reactors.
Inspectors from the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency already have visited the reactor site but seek more extensive examinations.
BEIRUT | An international peace conference proposed by the U.S. and Russia may be the last chance to negotiate an end to Syria’s civil war, a coalition of Syria-based opposition groups said Monday.
The call was made as Syrian government forces consolidated control over yet another northern town, part of a steadily advancing offensive that has reversed rebel gains in recent weeks.
“This is the only available framework
A man walks home with his son Monday following the devastating storm that lashed Hernani township. Typhoon-ravaged Philippine islands faced an unimaginably huge recovery effort that had barely begun Monday, as bodies lay uncollected and uncounted in the streets and survivors pleaded for food, water and medicine.