|IAEA says nuclear talks with Iran postponed to February 8||
TEHRAN – The UN nuclear watchdog said on Tuesday a planned meeting with Iran next week to discuss steps meant to resolve the dispute over its nuclear program had been postponed to February 8, without giving a reason, Reuters reported.
The talks between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are separate from - though still closely linked with - broader diplomacy between Tehran and six world powers over Iran's nuclear activity.
In November, Iran and the IAEA agreed a cooperation pact, including six initial steps to be taken by the country over the following three months, including access to two nuclear-related facilities and the provision of information.
They said after a review meeting last month they would meet again in Tehran on January 21 to discuss the next steps under the framework agreement. An IAEA spokeswoman confirmed in an e-mail a report that the date of the meeting had been postponed.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi also confirmed on Tuesday that the talks will be held on February 8.
Tehran says its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.
Separately, Iran and the six powers - the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China, and Russia - said on Sunday the implementation of a November 24 landmark agreement to curb Tehran's nuclear activity in return for some sanctions easing would begin on January 20. The IAEA will play a major role in verifying that Iran implements its part of the deal.
The IAEA's 35-nation governing board is due to hold an extraordinary meeting on January 24 to discuss the UN agency's extra work in monitoring the six-month agreement between Iran and the six states, two diplomats told Reuters on Tuesday.
The IAEA already regularly inspects Iranian nuclear sites.
It will now both increase the frequency of such visits and see some additional facilities, including plants where Iran manufactures equipment for refining uranium.
For its increased workload, the IAEA likely needs to send more inspectors to Iran and it has tentatively assessed that it will face extra costs of roughly 5 million euros (£4.16 million) which partly will be funded by voluntary member states contributions, diplomats have said.
IAEA inspectors to arrive in Iran on Jan. 18
Atomic Energy Organization of Iran spokesperson Behrouz Kamalvandi said on Tuesday that about five IAEA inspectors are scheduled to arrive in Iran on January 18 to start monitoring the implementation of the Geneva deal.
Subscribe to our RSS feed to stay in touch and receive all of TT updates right in your feed reader