Iran-IAEA nuclear talks to go into second day

Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:45pm EST
 
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By Marcus George and Fredrik Dahl

DUBAI/VIENNA (Reuters) - Senior U.N. nuclear inspectors will continue their talks with Iran for a second day on Thursday, hoping to reach a long-sought agreement to unblock an investigation into suspected weapons research in the Islamic state.

It was not clear whether the extension of the meeting in Tehran meant that headway had been made towards nailing down a framework deal giving the U.N. nuclear watchdog access to sites, officials and documents for its long-stalled inquiry.

The IAEA's immediate priority is to visit the Parchin military base southeast of Tehran, where it suspects explosives tests relevant for production of nuclear weapons may have taken place, perhaps a decade ago, accusations Tehran denies.

Iran denies Western accusations that it is seeking to develop a weapons capability, saying its nuclear program is aimed only at power generation.

The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iran separately announced the continuation of their discussions that began on Wednesday. They gave no details.

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 Tehran on how to conduct the investigation.

"The continuation of the discussions ... has been planned for Thursday," the official IRNA news agency quoted a statement issued by Iran's supreme national security council as saying.

The IRNA report added, without giving details: "The IAEA negotiating team which arrived in Tehran on Tuesday night, held several rounds (of talks) with the Iranian team today."   Continued...