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IAEA Sets New Date For 'Intensified' Nuke Talks With Iran

2/2/2012 2:44 AM ET

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said that it will hold another round of talks on Iran's disputed nuclear program in Tehran on February 21-22.

"The Agency is committed to intensifying dialog. It remains essential to make progress on substantive issues," IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano said in a statement on the return of the agency's high-level delegation to its Vienna headquarters on Wednesday after a trip to Iran.

"The IAEA explained its concerns and identified its priorities, which focus on the clarification of possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear programme," Amano was quoted as saying in media reports. During the just-concluded talks, the IAEA also discussed with Iran the topics and initial steps to be taken, as well as associated modalities, he added.

Iran's official IRNA news agency had reported on Tuesday that the spirit dominating the three-day talks between Iranian officials and the IAEA team was "positive and constructive." The report also said that the delegation did not visit or inspect any of Iran's nuclear sites.

IAEA nuclear inspector Herman Nackaerts, who led the six-member team, told reporters that his team had had a "good" visit. "We had three days of intensive discussions about all our priorities. We are committed to resolving all the outstanding issues and the Iranians said they are committed too. But of course there is still a lot of work to be done, and so we have planned another trip in the very near future," Nackaerts was quoted as saying on arrival at the Vienna airport.

The IAEA team's visit took place amid heightened tensions caused by its November report indicating a move by Tehran to develop atomic weapons which prompted the United States, the European Union and some other countries to impose fresh round of sanctions aimed at Iran's oil export and dealings by the its Central bank.

Iran, already reeling under several rounds of sanctions over its nuclear defiance, had threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, a vital waterway through which 20 percent of the world's tanker-borne oil are being transited.

by RTT Staff Writer

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