VIENNA - The UN nuclear watchdog will press Iran on Friday for a deal that would enable its inspectors to visit a military complex where they suspect atom bomb research has taken place, but Western diplomats are skeptical a breakthrough will be reached.
World powers will be watching the IAEA-Iran meeting in Vienna closely to judge whether the Islamic Republic is ready to make concessions before its broader talks with them later this month in Moscow on their decade-old nuclear dispute.
Both Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear body, say significant progress has been made on a framework agreement to resume a long-stalled IAEA investigation into Tehran's atomic activities.
But differences remain on how the IAEA should conduct its probe, and the United States said this week it doubted whether Iran would give the UN agency the kind of access to sites, documents and officials it needs.
"I'm not optimistic," Robert Wood, the acting US envoy to the IAEA, told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of the UN agency's governing board. "I certainly hope that an agreement will be reached but I'm not certain Iran is ready."
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