The IAEA wants to obtain samples of that earth for laboratory tests that would either confirm or allay suspicions of secret nuclear activities at Parchin.
Speaking on the eve of tomorrow’s round, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano sounded rather pessimistic about its results. Russian analyst Boris Dolgov of the Institute of Oriental Studies in Moscow is also skeptical of a breakthrough.
"I don’t think that there will be a breakthrough or any ultimate decision will be reached. Though definitely a positive factor, the talks between the IAEA and Iran are drawn-out and politically charged. Iran’s relations with Israel and the West are more important than the level of enrichment at Iranian nuclear sites. The main thing is a political settlement between Iran and the West."
The current consultations between Iran and the European Union about date-setting for a new round of talks in the “5+1” format (five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) are proof that the process is moving forward. Late January is being seen as a possible date. During the last round that took place in Moscow in June, the sides agreed to avoid long breaks. Georgy Mirsky of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences, comments on the issue:
"What can guarantee the success of the talks? It can be Iran’s consent to halt further uranium enrichment and thus allay the IAEA’s suspicions. But in return, Tehran may demand the lifting of the sanctions that have dealt a severe blow to the Iranian economy, plunging it into its worst state ever. Here, there seems to be a chance for a breakthrough."
Moscow would welcome the end of January as the date for the next round. Russian negotiator Sergei Ryabkov deplored the failed attempts to organize it over the past six months. He did not explain whether the failure was due to Tehran’s tough position or the unilateral U.S. and EU sanctions against Iran.