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                                        Volume. 12137

Iran’s atomic chief decries IAEA failure to close detonator probe
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TEHRAN – The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, says the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) should now close its investigation of the issue of Iran’s development of high explosives detonators.
 
In an interview with the Inter Press Service, Salehi said that the IAEA should have ended the investigation of the detonator issue in keeping with an understanding he said had been reached between the two sides on procedures for carrying out the February 2014 “Framework for Cooperation” agreement.
 
Referring to IAEA officials, Salehi said, “To the best of my knowledge and the best of my information, they have come up with the conclusion that what Iran has said is consistent with their findings.”
 
Salehi said the IAEA had agreed to do the same thing in regard to the issues included in the “Framework for Cooperation” agreement.
 
“We have agreed that once our explanations were enough to bring this to conclusion they would have to close that issue,” Salehi said.
 
“They should not keep the issue open,” Salehi said.
 
The most recent IAEA report, dated May 23, confirmed that Iran had shown the agency documents supporting the Iranian contention that it had carried out exploding bridge-wire (EBW) experiments for civilian applications rather than as part of a nuclear weapons program.
 
However, Amano declared in a Jun. 2 press conference that the IAEA would provide an assessment of its investigation on the EBW issue “in due course, after a good understanding of the whole picture.”
 
On Friday, the UN nuclear watchdog was expected to report in a monthly update that Iran is living up to its commitments to curb its atomic activities under an interim pact with six world powers last year, diplomats said, according to Reuters.
 
In exchange for a limited easing of sanctions, Iran agreed last November to take action to limit its nuclear activities.
 
The six-month agreement, which took effect on Jan. 20, was designed to buy time for negotiations on a final settlement of the decade-old dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program.
 
One diplomat from one of the six powers - the United States, Russia, France, Germany, Britain and China - said some progress had been made but that big gaps remained.
 
The aim is to reach a comprehensive solution by a self-imposed July 20 deadline on limiting Iran's nuclear program in return for an end to sanctions.
 
“Progress has been made but we have not concluded a big element of the negotiation,” the diplomat said.
 
There are “still a lot of differences between the two sides and they are important differences of substance”.
 
“It has been another really tough round,” the diplomat said, talking after the fourth day of the June 16-20 meeting.
 
After years of increasing tension between Iran and the West, the election last year of pragmatist Hassan Rouhani as Iranian president paved the way for a dramatic thaw in relations.
 
Western officials say they are focusing on reaching a deal by the agreed deadline and are not discussing a possible extension of the talks.
 
“I hope that July 20 is not in doubt,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters during a bilateral visit to the Austrian capital. “All parties should focus on bringing this to a conclusion by that date.”
 
MT/PA

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