UN agency, Iran fail to reach nuclear deal

UN inspectors failed again in talks in Tehran this week to secure a breakthrough deal on Iran's atomic activity in a setback for diplomatic efforts to resolve the nuclear dispute with the Islamic state peacefully.

Herman Nackaerts, deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said on Friday his team had not been granted the access they have long sought to a military site. A further meeting was scheduled for February 12.

Separate note

In a separate note sent to IAEA member states about the negotiations over Wednesday and Thursday, seen by Reuters, the UN agency said “important differences” between the two sides remained and it had therefore not been possible to reach an agreement.

The absence of an accord meant to allay international concerns over Tehran's atomic ambitions will disappoint world powers seeking a broader diplomatic settlement with Iran that would avert the threat of a new Middle East war.

The IAEA’s efforts to unblock its long-stalled investigation into suspected atom bomb research in Iran are separate, but closely linked, to negotiations between Tehran and the powers that may resume later this month after a seven-month hiatus. The IAEA, whose mission is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, has been trying for a year to negotiate a so-called structured approach with Iran giving the inspectors access to sites, officials and documents for their long-stalled inquiry.

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