President Barack Obama‘s strategy of engaging Iran finally got under way in earnest on Thursday with a positive response from Tehran to at least some of the concerns about its nuclear program. At a meeting in Geneva with officials from Western powers, Russia and China, Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili agreed to allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect a hitherto secret uranium-enrichment facility under construction near Qum. President Obama and his allies expressed grave concern last week about the site after revelations of its existence, and they made the demand for its inspection a key benchmark of Iran’s willingness to cooperate in resolving questions about its nuclear intent. European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana announced that Iran had agreed to inspections at the site “in the next couple of weeks” and hailed the talks as “the start of what we hope will be an intensive process.” Further talks are expected to be held later this month.
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