Iran suggests progress, but no deal, in U.N. atom talks

Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:17pm EST
 

By Yeganeh Torbati

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran indicated that some progress was made in talks with the U.N. nuclear watchdog on Wednesday, but that the two sides again failed to finalize an elusive framework deal over the Islamic state's disputed atomic activity.

Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said a new meeting would be held, without giving a date. There was no immediate comment from the IAEA about the one-day meeting in Tehran.

The IAEA had hoped to bridge persistent differences with Iran preventing the U.N. agency from restarting a long-stalled investigation into suspected nuclear weapons research by Tehran. Iran says the allegations are forged and baseless.

The apparent absence of a breakthrough deal in Wednesday's discussions in the Iranian capital will come as no surprise for Western diplomats, who have accused Iran of stonewalling the IAEA for years, a charge Tehran rejects.

World powers were watching the IAEA-Iran talks for signs that Tehran may finally be ready to start addressing their concerns over its nuclear program, which Tehran says is peaceful but the West fears is aimed at developing weapons.

Soltanieh said Iran and the IAEA had agreed on "some points" in the text of a planned framework agreement on how the IAEA should carry out its investigation, without giving details.

There was no immediate comment from the IAEA, which has been trying for more than a year to nail down such an accord giving it access to officials, documents and sites it says it needs for its inquiry in Iran.

"In addition to removing some differences and agreeing on some points in the text ... the two sides decided to review and exchange views about the new proposals that were given in this meeting, in the next meeting," Soltanieh said, according to Fars news agency.   Continued...

 
Iran's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh briefs the media after a meeting with IAEA's chief inspector Herman Nackaerts at the Iranian embassy in Vienna August 24, 2012. REUTERS/Herwig Prammer