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IAEA, Iranian Officials Hold Talks in Tehran


A delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency has held a first day of talks with Iranian officials in Tehran, to try to clear up questions about the country's controversial nuclear program.

IAEA Deputy Director General Olli Heinonen led the U.N. agency's delegation, and Tehran's deputy nuclear negotiator, Javad Vaeedi, led the Iranian side.

An Iranian news agency (ISNA) says the negotiations will resume on Wednesday.

On Sunday, an Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, Mohammad Ali Hosseini, said the talks would involve Iran's plans to develop advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium more efficiently than Tehran's current technology.

Iran and the IAEA agreed in August on a timetable for Tehran to answer questions about its nuclear program by December. The agreement does not require Iran to suspend the current expansion of its uranium enrichment facilities.

The two sides have held several rounds of talks since reaching the deal.

The U.N. Security Council has imposed two sets of sanctions on Iran for its refusal to halt uranium enrichment. But world powers have agreed to put off until November efforts to seek a third round of sanctions, to see if Iran's talks with the IAEA produce results.

The United States and its allies accuse Iran of seeking to build atomic weapons under the cover of a civilian nuclear program. Iran denies the charge.

France has called for the European Union to also impose sanctions against Iran for its controversial nuclear activities. Austrian Foreign Minister Irsula Plassnik is quoted in a German newspaper Handelsblatt as saying her country is opposed to the French proposal.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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