Iran says nuclear talks with IAEA were "constructive"

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Published Thursday, October 9, 2014

Updated at 4:21 pm (GMT+3): Iran said Thursday it held "constructive" talks with a visiting delegation of the UN nuclear watchdog seeking to resolve outstanding issues in Tehran's atomic program.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said in a brief statement after the October 7-8 meeting in Tehran that discussions would continue. But it did not announce a date for the next round of talks focused on IAEA concerns that Iran had initially been supposed to address by an agreed August 25 deadline.

In this week's meetings, "the two sides held discussions in relation to the implementation of the two practical measures relating to the initiation of high explosives and to neutron transport calculations," the IAEA said. "The agency and Iran will continue discussions on these measures."

"The agency and Iran will continue discussions on these measures (that are part of the investigation)," the IAEA said. "Iran did not propose any new measures during the meetings in Tehran. Iran and the agency agreed to meet again, at a date to be announced."

Tero Varjoranta, deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, led the team which held talks Tuesday and Wednesday on two final points on which the IAEA is still seeking explanations from Iran.

The two questions focus on Western concerns that the Islamic republic's nuclear activities had alleged military dimensions.

"During these two days, all the bilateral issues were discussed, in particular, how to carry out the agreed measures and the ways forward were discussed," said Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, Reza Najafi.

"These negotiations were constructive in terms of content. They were also direct," he said, quoted on the state television's website.

A diplomat in the Austrian capital said, however, that it seemed "very little progress" had been achieved.

The Vienna-based IAEA disclosed in September that Iran had failed to meet an August 25 deadline to provide information on five points meant to allay fears it was developing nuclear weapons.

Iran insists its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.

One of the IAEA's questions centers on Iran's purported experiments with large-scale high explosives.

Under an agreement reached in November 2013 with the IAEA, Iran has already responded to 16 of the 18 issues the agency identified as relevant to its nuclear activities.

Satisfying the IAEA's concerns is considered crucial to a hoped for conclusion by November 24 of a comprehensive nuclear agreement with the United States and other world powers.

In a letter to the IAEA, Najafi has put the delay down to the "complexity" of the issues and said allegations of nuclear-orientated experiments lacked credibility and any solid proof.

(AFP, Reuters)

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