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IAEA Chief Hopeful for Deal on Iran Nuclear Standoff


The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency says he is hopeful that talks will result in a solution acceptable to Iran and the international community concerning Tehran's controversial nuclear ambitions. But U.S. diplomats see little prospect of a breakthrough. Marlene Smith reports for VOA from Vienna where the IAEA board of governors is in closed-door session.

Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the IAEA, said he is optimistic that talks will resolve the deadlock over international demands that Iran halt its nuclear activities.

ElBaradei chairs the 35-member Board of Governors, and is anxious to avoid an all-out confrontation with Iran.

Last month, the board reported Iran to the U.N. Security Council, but held back from supporting action such as sanctions against the oil-rich country.

Iran is insisting it has the right to peaceful use of nuclear technology, and is going ahead with its nuclear program, despite appeals for restraint.

Matthew Boland, spokesman for the U.S. mission to the IAEA in Vienna, says there is no indication that Iran is prepared to cooperate with the agency.

"Iran's leaders have refused to provide complete access to all information, locations and individuals that the IAEA has requested, and the report (of the IAEA) notes that Iran has refused to turn over documents on manufacturing nuclear weapons components," he says.

The United States says the IAEA has revealed aspects of Iran's nuclear program, which would only make sense, if the intention were to build a bomb.

Iran denies it is secretly developing nuclear weapons, and blames the United States for the lack of success in negotiations so far.

The IAEA board is expected to review the Iran file most of the week before reaching a decision on what to do next.

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