VIENNA – The styles of the interviewees and the venues for the interviews for this report couldn’t have been more different and might say a lot about why the two sides in the Iran nuclear crisis are not necessarily seeing eye to eye.
Yukiya Amano works in the hi-tech steel and glass headquarters of the UN nuclear watchdog agency, the IAEA, found in the outskirts of Vienna. The organization’s director-general sits at a massive desk in a modern stream-lined office. The career Japanese diplomat is surrounded by public relations aides and his quotes are clear and precise…and carefully worded. He’s amiable in a controlled and careful way.
Ali Asghar Soltanieh, the Iranian Ambassador to the IAEA, works out of a stone and brick townhouse in the heart of old Vienna. While his desk, too, is modern, it’s in a room that could have hosted royalty. During the visit he also showed off another room containing a replica uranium enrichment centrifuge. And another in the basement that has a decidedly Iranian lounge feel. His interview style was emotional and at times spontaneous.
While you could imagine these two sitting down for talks, having them see eye to eye might be another story, and downing an Austrian beer together...maybe not.