IAEA-Iran nuclear negotiations break down

UN nuclear watchdog says discussions failed to yield agreement, no plans for another meeting; Iran's Soltanieh: Progress made.

August 24, 2012 19:19
2 minute read.
IAEA's Nackaerts with Iran's Soltanieh

IAEA's Nackaerts with Iran's Soltanieh 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Herwig Prammer)


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VIENNA - Talks between the United Nations' nuclear watchdog and Iran aimed at resolving concerns about Tehran's atomic program broke up on Friday without an agreement, and a senior UN official said no further talks were scheduled.

"The discussions today were intensive but important differences remain between Iran and the UN that prevented agreement," the International Atomic Energy Agency's chief inspector, Herman Nackaerts, told journalists after meeting an Iranian delegation in Vienna.

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"At the moment we have no plans for another meeting."

Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said that "undoubtedly some progress" was made but that differences remained.

"Because it is a very complex issue ... issues related to national security of a member state are something very delicate," he said. "But I have to say that we are moving forward ... and we are going to continue this process so that we at the end of the day will have a framework agreed by both sides."

The two sides are trying to unblock an International Atomic Energy Agency investigation into Western suspicions - denied by Tehran - that Iran has been conducting research into nuclear weapons.

Iran denies any nuclear weapons aims, but its refusal to curb its nuclear enrichment program has prompted tough Western sanctions and has heightened speculation that Israel may attack its atomic sites.

Speaking prior to the meeting, Nackaerts told reporters he would again ask for access to the Parchin military facility.

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"We are here today to continue our discussions with Iran and seek agreement on a structured approach to resolve all the outstanding issues," he said. "And of course we will also ask Iran where they are with their responses to our requests for access to Parchin and other questions that we have."

In a possible sign of further Iranian defiance in the face of such pressure, several sources said on Thursday that Iran had installed additional uranium enrichment centrifuges in its Fordow facility, buried deep inside a mountain to protect it from attack.

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