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                                        Volume. 11921
UN nuclear watchdog sees ‘good’ progress with Iran
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c_330_235_16777215_0___images_stories_edim_cover.jpgTEHRAN – Chief UN nuclear inspector Tero Varjoranta said on Monday his team made good progress during February 8-9 talks in Tehran but that much work remained to resolve the dispute over Iran's nuclear program.

"There are still a lot of outstanding issues," Varjoranta, deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said at Vienna airport after returning from the Iranian capital, Reuters reported. "We will address them all in due course."

Iran denies Western allegations it seeks the capability to make nuclear weapons, saying such claims are baseless and fabricated by its foes.

A diplomatic push to resolve the decade-old dispute picked up steam after last June's election of Hassan Rouhani as Iran’s president.   

Iran and six powers struck an interim deal on November 24 over Tehran's nuclear work in exchange for some relaxation of sanctions.

The IAEA investigation into what it calls the possible military dimensions (PMD) to Iran's nuclear activity is separate from, but complementary to, the wider-ranging diplomacy between the Islamic Republic and the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Russia, and China.

"Continued progress on resolving PMD issues will go a long way to demonstrate to the international community that Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons and is willing to come clean about its past activities," said Kelsey Davenport of the Arms Control Association, a U.S. research and advocacy group.

The IAEA said on Sunday that Iran had agreed to take seven new practical measures within three months under a November transparency arrangement with the IAEA meant to help allay concern about the nuclear program.

Varjoranta said Iran had implemented six previously agreed steps under the November framework accord, including providing inspectors access to two-nuclear related sites.

"Since November everything has gone as planned," he said, and more steps would follow. "These things take time."  

EP/PA
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