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Iran nuclear talks: Why the trust gap is so great

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"I think [Iran] has reason to be suspicious," says Rolf Ekeus, the Swedish former director of the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) in Iraq in the 1990s. "The Iranians don't trust the other side at all. When these killings are taking place ... they have all the more reason to be angry and upset; it's cruel [killing] scientists going to their job."

Iranian officials say that nuclear inspectors of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have contributed to that toll, whether they are aware of it or not. They accuse the IAEA of breaking its own rules, by exposing secret information gleaned during inspections that, they charge, has been grist for hostile intelligence agencies seeking regime change in Iran.

"This has been proven to Iranians," says Seyed Hossein Mousavian, a former member of Iran's nuclear negotiating team who is now at Princeton University in New Jersey.

"There is a consensus within Iran that more access [with the IAEA], more cooperation, [means] more assassinations, more sabotage," says Mr. Mousavian. "Which means there is a great, great mistrust from the Iranian point of view to the real intention of the IAEA. They are really concerned that the IAEA has been used as an instrument for espionage, sabotage, covert action and preparing the ground for a military strike."

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