IAEA to Israel: Iran nuclear row must be solved peacefully

January 25, 2013 13:30

VIENNA - The UN nuclear watchdog chief has underlined to Israel's president the need to resolve differences with Iran diplomatically, Yukiya Amano's office said on Friday, rather than war as Israeli leaders have mooted.

Israel, widely believed to be the only nuclear-armed state in the Middle East, has threatened possible military action if diplomacy and sanctions fail to prevent arch-adversary Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Iran says its uranium enrichment program is for peaceful energy purposes only.

Amano said in a meeting with President Shimon Peres at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland on Thursday that the International Atomic Energy Agency had intensified "dialogue" with Tehran, the IAEA said in a statement.

That was a reference to the IAEA's year-long push - so far fruitless - to negotiate a framework deal with Iran allowing the Vienna-based UN agency to resume a long-stalled investigation into suspected nuclear weapons research by Tehran.

Director-General Amano "made clear the Agency's commitment to dialogue, and the need to resolve issues with Iran by diplomatic means", the IAEA said in a statement.

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