IAEA says Iran agrees to address issues in nuclear bomb probe

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The UN atomic watchdog said Wednesday it has agreed with Iran five new transparency measures, including two concerning a long-stalled probe into Tehran’s alleged past efforts to develop atomic weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency said that Iran, which denies seeking or ever having sought nuclear weapons, has undertaken to provide information on the new steps “by August 25”.

The announcement comes after a fourth round of talks between Iran and six world powers in Vienna last week that both sides indicated made no progress towards a comprehensive deal over Tehran’s nuclear program, AFP reports.

One of the key elements in this sought-after deal would be Iran answering some of its many questions on the alleged “possible military dimensions” (PMD) of Tehran’s nuclear program in other words efforts to design a nuclear bomb.

Iran says that the trove of evidence presented by the IAEA on these activities, which the Vienna agency believes took place before 2003 and possibly since, is based on faulty intelligence provided by the CIA and Israel’s Mossad.

The two new PMD steps are “exchanging information” with the IAEA on allegations related to the initiation of high explosives, and providing “mutually agreed relevant information and explanations” on neutron studies.

IAEA inspectors to visit Iran for talks to tackle ‘remaining concerns’ about Tehran’s nuclear program

A senior inspector from the UN atomic energy is due on Monday in Iran for talks with officials aimed at tackling “remaining concerns” about Tehran’s nuclear program, media reported, according to AFP.

The visit by the International Atomic Energy Agency officials comes after Iran and six world powers ended a fourth round of nuclear talks in Vienna on Friday with “no tangible progress.”

“Chief inspector Tero Varjoranta along with a delegation will travel to Iran to hold talks with the Iranian nuclear officials for tackling the remaining concerns and clarifying some ambiguities,” Behrouz Kamalvandi, Iran’s atomic agency spokesman, said Sunday.

He told ISNA news agency “the negotiations between Iran and IAEA officials will start on Tuesday and the aim is to reach a conclusion over the 13 measures that Iran has taken.”

In November, Iran and the UN nuclear watchdog agreed on a “roadmap for cooperation” comprised of six points, over Tehran’s controversial atomic drive.

The parties also agreed in February on another seven-step plan to increase transparency over Tehran’s nuclear activities, which was expected to be completed by May 15.

Among these steps, Iran promised to clarify its use of Exploding Bridge Wire (EBW) detonators, devices which could theoretically be used in an atomic bomb but which also have a range of other uses.

Iran also allowed the UN nuclear watchdog inspectors to visit two nuclear sites in earlier May.

“Now, it is the phase that IAEA should give its assessments about the measures that Iran has done, so the ground could be prepared for the future cooperation,” Kamalvandi said.

Iranian Foreign Minister says nuclear deal is ‘possible’

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Sunday that clinching a final nuclear deal with world powers is still “possible” despite a tough round of talks this week.

“Agreement is possible. But illusions need to go. Opportunity shouldn’t be missed again like in 2005,” Zarif said on Twitter, referring to Iran’s long-stalled dispute with world powers over its suspect nuclear programme.

Iran and six world powers ended a fourth round of nuclear talks in Vienna on Friday with “no tangible progress”.

Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany — known as the P5+1 group — want Iran to radically scale back its nuclear activities, making any dash for an atomic bomb virtually impossible and easily detectable.

The parties want to clinch a deal by July 20, when a November interim deal expires, under which Iran froze certain activities in return for some relief from crippling Western sanctions.

In return for further concessions, the Islamic republic, which denies seeking an atomic weapon, wants the lifting of all UN and Western sanctions, which have caused major damage to its economy.

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