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Last Update: 3 Hour and 21 Minute ago
News code: 19124
Published Date: Saturday 19 May 2012 - 12:24:40
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IAEA Chief to Visit Iran Monday to Continue Talks

IAEA Chief to Visit Iran Monday to Continue Talks
IRAN  - Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano is due to visit Iran Monday to facilitate cooperation between the two sides after Tehran and the UN nuclear watchdog agency held two days of successful discussions in Vienna earlier this week.

 Yukiya Amano will leave Vienna on Sunday for talks on Monday with senior Iranian officials including chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, the IAEA said in a surprise announcement that raised hopes of a deal on closer cooperation just days ahead of major talks between Iran and the six world powers.

The trip comes ahead of a Wednesday meeting in Baghdad between Iran and the Group 5+1 (the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany - plus the European Union - that are aimed at laying the groundwork to resolving the two sides' differences over Iran's nuclear program.

Amano, accompanied by IAEA chief inspector Hermann Nackaerts and agency number two Rafael Grossi, would meet other "senior representatives of the Iranian government" for talks "to discuss issues of mutual interest" in his first trip to Iran since becoming head of the IAEA, the agency said.

Diplomats said the fact that the Japanese Amano himself was going raised hopes of a breakthrough.

Another Vienna diplomat told AFP that the surprise announcement was a "hopeful" sign, while a third said they expected Amano to "conclude the negotiations on the modalities (of cooperation) and to have it formalized in a document.

Iran and the IAEA held two rounds of talks in Tehran in January and February this year.

But after their third round of talks in Vienna on May 14-15, both sides were more upbeat, raising hopes of a possible outcome when talks resume on Monday.

After this week's talks between Iran and the IAEA, diplomats said the two parties are making headway towards a framework deal on how to resolve outstanding issues of difference, a potential bargaining chip for Tehran in next week's negotiations with the world powers.

Iran's IAEA Envoy Ali Asqar Soltaniyeh had earlier reiterated that such an agreement is needed before it can consider a request by UN inspectors to visit the Parchin military site.

The UN nuclear watchdog and Iran were due to meet again in Vienna on May 21, two days before Tehran and the six global powers discuss Iran's nuclear program in Baghdad.

But, the IAEA statement announced yesterday that Amano's visit to Iran will replace the talks that had been set to resume on Monday in Vienna between Soltaniyeh and Nackaerts.

Speaking to AFP, Soltaniyeh gave no further details, saying only that this "is a visit for talking about issues of common interest, and of course about cooperation with the IAEA".

Western diplomats accredited to the UN agency told Reuters that Iran seemed keen to agree a so-called "structured approach" - an outline of how to address the IAEA's questions - ahead of Baghdad in the apparent hope of gaining leverage there.

They welcomed Iran's cooperation with the IAEA.

"There are still some outstanding issues but there is a possibility an agreement is reached on Monday," one Western diplomat said. It would be "a step forward on the process side," he said.

He said it would be a document on the scope and principles of how to pursue talks on Iran's nuclear program.

Tags:: Iran - IAEA - Amano
News Code: 19124
Published Date: Saturday 19 May 2012 - 12:24:40
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