Amano: Iran nuclear dialogue goes on

IAEA chief vows to continue work as intermediary in talks with Teheran.

Yukiya Amano IAEA 311 (photo credit: AP)
Yukiya Amano IAEA 311
(photo credit: AP)

Yukiya Amano, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA), said on Friday that dialogue with Iran over its nuclear program wascontinuing, Reuters reported.

"The proposal is on the table. Dialogue iscontinuing," Amano reportedly told a panel on nuclear proliferationin the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland.

"I hope agreement will be reached and I continue towork as intermediary. This increase confidence in the (Iranian) nuclearissue," Amano was quoted as saying in his first public remarks on thestandoff since he succeeded Mohamed ElBaradei two months ago.

Amano’s remarks come a day after US Secretary of StateHillary Rodham Clinton said the Islamic republic was leaving the world no recourse but to apply penalties aimed at curbing afast-track nuclear program.

"Our efforts to apply pressure on Iran are not meant to punish theIranian people. They are meant to change the approach the Iranian governmenthas taken toward its nuclear program," said on Thursday.

Obama administration officials have invited new talks with Teheran, but with no sign that Iran wants todo business, the focus has turned to penalties.

On Wednesday night, US President Barack Obama warned Teheran in his first State of Union address, declaring that Iranian intransigenceover its nuclear program would result in consequences.

Reminding Iranian leaders of the sanctions imposed against Iran, hestressed to applause, “They, too, will face growing consequences. That is apromise.” He said that already “the Islamic Republic is more isolated” becauseof its continued defiance of international demands that it halt its nuclearprogram.

AP and Hilary Leila Krieger contributed to this report