07/02/2015, 00.00
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Iranian nuclear programme: IAEA chief in Tehran as diplomats continue to talk

Yukiya Amano is set to meet Iranian President Rouhani. An IAEA report says that Iran has made a fundamental commitment, reducing its nuclear material stocks. In addition to the issue of IAEA inspections, major disagreements persist on how quickly the West will drop sanctions and on what types of research and development Iran can undertake in advanced nuclear technology.

Vienna (AsiaNews/Agencies) – International diplomatic efforts to find an agreement on the decade-long Iranian nuclear issue have intensified.

Yukiya Amano, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), arrived in Tehran for talks with top Iranian authorities, including President Hassan Rouhani.

At IAEA headquarters in Vienna, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi as well as the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini are expected to join US Secretary of State, John Kerry, and Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, who are involved in talks (pictured), which were extended yesterday to 7 July from the previous deadline of 30 June.

A UN report issued yesterday and obtained by The Associated Press indicates that Iran has met a key commitment under a preliminary nuclear deal setting up the current talks on a final agreement, leaving it with several tonnes less of the material it could use to make weapons,

According to the confidential IAEA report, more than four tonnes of enriched uranium has been fed into a pipeline that ends with conversion of it into oxide, which is much less likely to be used to make nuclear arms.

A US official said that although Iran’s technical problems had slowed the process, the United States was satisfied that Iran had met its commitments to limit the amount of enriched uranium it has stored.

In his talks in Tehran today, IAEA chief Yukiya Amano hopes to “accelerate the resolution of all outstanding issues related to Iran’s nuclear program, including clarification of possible military dimensions,” the Vienna-based agency said in a statement.

Amano is also expected to ask for more inspections of Iranian atomic sites. Citing sources close to the negotiators about the military aspect of the Iranian nuclear programme, Iranian news agency ISNA said that the IAEA chief would “receive Iran’s alternative proposal” to the proposed questioning of its nuclear scientists, a step Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called a red line.

In Washington, President Barack Obama there will be no nuclear deal with Iran if inspections and verification requirements are inadequate. “I will walk away from the negotiations if, in fact, it’s a bad deal,” Obama told reporters.

Beyond the level of IAEA inspections on Iranian sites, significant disagreements persist on how quickly the West would roll back sanctions and what types of research and development Iran would be permitted to conduct on advanced nuclear technology.

Zarif said Wednesday that no deadline has been set. “We have made progress and we will make progress and we will use every opportunity to make progress,” he said after his latest meeting with Kerry in Vienna.

"We are working very, very hard and we have some very difficult issues but we believe we're making progress and we're going to continue to work because of that," Kerry told reporters.

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