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– Hans Blix
Former IAEA Director-General
Representing Iran at the IAEA: Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh Speaks with Arms Control Today
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For Immediate Release: Sept. 27, 2011

Media Contacts: Peter Crail, Nonproliferation Analyst, Arms Control Association (202-463-8270 ext. 102);  

(Washington, D.C.) -- In the midst of proposals for renewing international talks with Iran over the nuclear issue and ahead of the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) quarterly board meeting in which Iran's cooperation with the agency would again come under fire, Arms Control Today (ACT) interviewed Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's representative to the IAEA, about the current impasse.

As Iran's IAEA envoy, Ambassador Soltanieh deals directly with the Iran nuclear controversy and with an agency whose relations with Tehran appear to be increasingly tense. During the IAEA's Sept. 12-16 board meeting, IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano said he planned to detail suspicions that Iran has been engaged in work to develop a nuclear warhead, potentially bringing the issue to a head at the next board meeting in November.

Ambassador Soltanieh defends his government's cooperation with the IAEA, stressing Iran's greater openness during a recent IAEA inspection, while objecting to the notion of increasing transparency under the threat of sanctions.

He also touches on recent diplomatic initiatives, including an Iranian offer of "full supervision" over its nuclear program by the IAEA for five years if sanctions were lifted, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's claim that Iran can continue to enrich uranium in the future after addressing international concerns.

Finally, the Ambassador provides some additional details on Iran's future nuclear plans, including the decision not to construct more enrichment facilities for the time being, and the rationale behind ramping up the production of 20%-enriched uranium at the new Fordow plant.

The full interview is available on the Arms Control Association website.

Select portions will also appear in the October issue of Arms Control Today.

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The Arms Control Association (ACA) is an independent nongovernmental organization dedicated to addressing the challenges posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.