Iran took a hard line Thursday on two of the biggest demands of world powers in a final nuclear accord, rejecting any extraordinary inspection rules and threatening to ramp up enrichment of bomb-making material if the United States and other countries re-impose sanctions after the deal is in place.
Speaking to reporters in Vienna, where diplomats are trying to clinch a comprehensive nuclear pact, a senior Iranian negotiator said the U.N. nuclear agency’s standard rules governing access to government information, sites of interest and scientists should be sufficient to ensure that Iran’s program is solely for peaceful purposes. Anything beyond that, he said, would be unfair.
The U.S. and other negotiating countries want Iran to go further.
“We should be realistic,” said the Iranian official, who briefed members of the news media on condition he not be quoted by name. He also questioned the legitimacy of countries that don’t accept the International Atomic Energy Agency’s jurisdiction demanding that Iran be subject to tougher requirements than any other nation.
The official was making a clear reference to Israel, a state widely presumed to maintain an undeclared nuclear arsenal.
But the marker will be a cause of concern for the Obama administration and its negotiating partners, who are hoping to forge an agreement that would curb Iran’s atomic program for a decade in exchange for relief from crippling sanctions.
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