Breakthrough eludes Iran nuclear talks

Breakthrough eludes Iran nuclear talks

The UN nuclear watchdog chief held extensive and useful talks in Iran on Monday and expects them to have a positive impact on a six-power meeting with Tehran later this week, Iranian media said, but there was no sign of a breakthrough deal.

International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano paid a rare visit to Tehran after voicing hope for Iranian agreement to cooperate with an IAEA investigation into suspected atomic bomb research — a possible gesture from Tehran to try to get international sanctions relaxed and deflect threats of war.

Amano met the head of Iran’s nuclear energy agency, Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, and its top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, who will sit down in Baghdad on Wednesday with world powers seeking overall curbs on Iran’s disputed atomic activity.

“(Monday’s) negotiations were very useful. We held expanded and intensive negotiations in a good atmosphere,” Amano was quoted as saying by the website of Iranian state television.

“Definitely, the progress of (these) talks will have a positive impact on negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 (six powers). Of course these are two different issues but they can strengthen each other,” he was quoted as saying.

Asked about a framework agreement that would resolve questions over the nature of Iran’s nuclear activity quickly, Amano added: “I will not go into details but the agency has some viewpoints and Iran has its own specific viewpoints.”

There was no indication that Iran had addressed Amano’s overriding priority — a deal to obtain access for IAEA investigators to Iranian sites, nuclear scientists and documents needed to check intelligence suggesting that Tehran has pursued covert research relevant to developing nuclear bombs.

There was no immediate comment from the IAEA. Jalili said after the talks that Iran was “a serious supporter of... global disarmament, confronting the spread of nuclear weapons and the usage of peaceful nuclear technology for (non-proliferation treaty) member states,” the television said.

“Today we have good negotiations with Amano on these three fields and we hope to have good cooperation with the agency in the future in these areas,” Jalili said.

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