VIENNA - The UN nuclear watchdog said on Tuesday it was ready to hold talks with Iran soon and made no mention of allegations by Tehran that the Vienna-based atomic agency might be infiltrated by "terrorists and saboteurs".

The International Atomic Energy Agency issued a brief statement on a meeting on Monday between IAEA chief Yukiya Amano and Iranian nuclear energy head Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, hours after Abbasi-Davani made the allegation in a speech to the UN agency's annual member state gathering in Vienna.

"I confirmed to Dr Abbasi that the Agency is committed to continued dialogue with the Islamic Republic of Iran and expressed the readiness of Agency negotiators to meet with Iran's in the near future," Amano said in the statement.

The IAEA has been seeking to resume a long-stalled investigation into suspected atom bomb research in Iran, but talks that began in January has made little headway. Iran denies Western allegations it is seeking nuclear weapons capability.

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