Analysis: U.N.'s Iran atom probe "hostage" to big power diplomacy
VIENNA (Reuters) - Offering immunity or an easing of the sanctions pressure may be the only way - if there is one at all - to coax Iran to end years of stonewalling a U.N. watchdog investigation into suspected nuclear weapons research in the Islamic state.
Any such initiative would likely need to come from world powers as part of a broader diplomatic thrust to defuse the dispute over Iran's nuclear program, leaving the investigation by the U.N. atomic agency dependent on how those talks develop.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has failed in a series of high-profile rounds of discussions in the last six months to persuade Tehran to give it access to sites, officials and documents it says it needs for the long-stalled inquiry.
The roller-coaster negotiations have underlined the IAEA's limited power to make Iran cooperate with it, suggesting Tehran will do so only if it gets something in return elsewhere and fuelling Western suspicions that it is playing for time.
"It looks to me now that the IAEA-Iran track isn't going to go anywhere unless there is progress made in the talks between Iran and the powers," senior researcher Shannon Kile of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said.
Iran seems to be using its discussions with the IAEA - at times raising hopes for a deal, then dashing them - to gain leverage in its separate meetings with the powers that have made little headway since they resumed in April after a 15-month gap.
The six powers - the United States, France, Russia, Germany, Britain and China - also want Iran's full cooperation with the U.N. watchdog. But their more immediate demand is that Iran stop atomic activity that takes it closer to potential bomb material.http://news.yahoo.com/analysis-u-n-iran-atom-probe-hostage-big-081144713.html