The head of the U.N. nuclear agency (the IAEA), Yukiya Amano, suggested on Monday that its probe into suspected atomic arms work in Iran may stretch into next year. World powers are trying to secure a long-term nuclear deal with Iran, and aiming to reach agreement before the temporary deal expires on July 20. But the IAEA’s announcement could push any agreement long past next month’s target date.
The nuclear talks resume June 16. Hopes for meeting the target date already diminished following major disagreements at the previous round of talks in May, which prevented the two sides from starting to draft a pact as hoped. The talks can be extended by mutual agreement. But the U.S. and Iranian governments are under huge domestic pressure to show progress - from both Iranian hardliners and U.S. congressional critics.
Amano praised Iran for enhanced cooperation since a milestone framework between the two sides was agreed last November, adding that improved access had helped the agency “gain a better understanding” of Iran’s nuclear program. Let’s pray now that all parties would put the securing of peace at the heart of the agenda.