Iranian boycott mars rare Middle East nuclear talks

November 21, 2011 13:13

VIENNA - The UN nuclear chief urged Middle East adversaries on Monday to engage in "fresh thinking" in rare talks on efforts to rid the world of atom bombs, attended by Israel and Arab states but boycotted by Iran.

Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, opened a two-day meeting at IAEA headquarters that is seen as an opportunity to help build confidence and reduce deep mistrust in the volatile region.

The veteran Japanese diplomat said he hoped it "will help to promote dialogue on a nuclear weapon-free zone" in the Middle East.

Iran, which Israel and the United States accuse of planning to build nuclear weapons, said it would not take part in the discussions after the IAEA's 35-nation governing board passed a resolution on Friday rebuking it for its atomic activities.

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