Iran, U.N. nuclear agency to resume talks in December

Fri Nov 9, 2012 3:58pm EST
 
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By Fredrik Dahl

VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran will return to talks with the U.N. nuclear agency next month, both sides said on Friday, the latest push to seek a peaceful end to a dispute that has raised fears of a new Middle East war.

The news came days after U.S. President Barack Obama's re-election, which some analysts say may give fresh impetus to efforts to end a decade-old standoff with a country the West accuses of working towards a nuclear weapons capability.

In a reminder of how tensions could escalate, the Pentagon said on Thursday that Iranian warplanes had fired at a U.S. drone in international airspace last week and Iran said it had chased off an "unidentified" aircraft that had crossed its borders.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it hoped the talks in Tehran on December 13 would produce an agreement to allow it to resume a long-stalled investigation into possible military aspects of Iran's nuclear program.

The agency says it has "credible information indicating that Iran had carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device" and wants Tehran to give it access to sites, officials and documents to clarify the issue.

Iran denies it wants nuclear bombs and has repeatedly ruled out stopping its atomic activities.

A series of meetings since early this year, the last one in August, failed to make concrete progress.

Israel, assumed to be the Middle East's only nuclear-armed power, has threatened military action if it looks like Tehran is close to getting nuclear weapons capability.   Continued...

 
Iran's Head of Atomic Energy Organization Fereydoon Abbasi-Davani reacts as he attends a news conference during the 56th IAEA General Conference at the UN headquarters in Vienna September 17, 2012. REUTERS/Herwig Prammer