IAEA, Iran to meet again after "good" talks

Wed Feb 1, 2012 5:45pm GMT

By Michael Shields

VIENNA (Reuters) - Senior U.N. nuclear inspectors plan another trip to Iran later this month after holding what both sides described as good talks on the Islamic state's disputed atomic programme.

The Jan 29-31 talks in Tehran were a rare direct dialogue in the long-running international stand-off, which has worsened in recent weeks as the West pursues a punitive embargo on Iranian oil and Tehran threatens retaliation.

"The Agency is committed to intensifying dialogue. It remains essential to make progress on substantive issues," Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said in a statement.

Tehran says its uranium enrichment programme is solely for peaceful electricity generation and has dismissed allegations that it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons as baseless.

Led by the U.N. agency's global head of inspections, the IAEA team returned on Wednesday from three days of meetings in Iran to try to end three years of deadlock in efforts to resolve the questions about Tehran's nuclear work.

The fact both sides said talks would resume suggested the round just completed at least created some basis for progress.

"We are committed to resolve all the outstanding issues and the Iranians said they are committed too," Herman Nackaerts, IAEA deputy director general, told reporters after returning from Tehran.

"But of course there is still a lot of work to be done and so we have planned another trip in the very near future."   Continued...

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