U.N. atomic watchdog says Iran's proposal has "substance"
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief inspector Tero Varjoranta talks to the press after a meeting with a delegation from Iran at the United Nations headquarters in Vienna. (Image credit: AFP)
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Iran’s more moderate new leadership has shown willingness to address concerns regardless of progress in parallel talks with world powers, the head of the U.N. atomic watchdog said on Friday.
Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said he held “productive” talks with President Hassan Rowhani’s government, which comes as Iran conducts separate negotiations with the United States and five other nations over its nuclear program.
“I can tell you that after the coming of President Rowhani, we have had a number of contacts with them but we haven't heard this linkage,” Agence France-Presse quoted Amano as saying at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington.
Amano said Rowhani’s team has not tied cooperation with the Vienna-based agency to the political talks -- in which Tehran is seeking relief from crippling U.S.-led sanctions.
“There is some substance in the new proposal by Iran,” Amano said when asked this market a significant change.
Amano said that the IAEA “would like to clarify the present and past activities” of Iran but declined to say whether he expected Tehran to be allow a more intrusive probe.
Rouhani, who swept to power in June on promises to repair Iran’s troubled economy and ease its political isolation, has called for a quick agreement to end concerns that the clerical regime’s uranium work is aimed at building a nuclear bomb.
The IAEA, which meets again in Tehran on November 11, and the six major powers, which meet Iran again in Geneva on November 7-8, have declined to describe Iran’s proposals in public while negotiations are underway.
For the IAEA, one sticking point is the agency’s hope of investigating allegations that Iranian scientists conducted experiments aimed at developing a nuclear arsenal before 2003 and possibly since.
Iran has denied the charges, saying that purported evidence comes from faulty intelligence by the likes of the CIA and Israel’s Mossad that Tehran has not been allowed to see.