News / Middle East

Nuclear Watchdog Presses Iran for Details on 'New Approach'

Austria Iran Nuclear
Austria Iran Nuclear
VOA News
Iran again says it is offering a "new approach" as talks intensify with the West over Tehran's controversial nuclear program.

Iran's deputy foreign minister made the comments Monday in Vienna in an appearance with the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations' nuclear watchdog,

The IAEA has been trying to investigate Western allegations that Iran secretly worked on developing nuclear weapons.  Iran maintains its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes and that it is not and has not pursued nuclear weapons.

Talks between Tehran and the IAEA have been stalled for several years.

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said it is important for "concrete progress" to happen as negotiations move forward.

Iran is meeting with both the IAEA and world powers over how to resolve questions over its nuclear ambitions.

Since the election of moderate cleric Hassan Rouhani as Iran's president this past June, diplomats have been hopeful that progress can be made on both fronts.

Iranian negotiators are preparing for additional talks with experts from the so-called P5+1 (the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany) later this week.  Those talks are expected to lay the groundwork for higher level talks early next month in Geneva.

The IAEA plays a pivotal role on technical aspects of nuclear inspections.

On Monday, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi expressed hope that a meeting of the minds with IAEA officials is within reach.

"It is time to take a new approach to resolve questions between Iran and the IAEA and look to the future for further cooperation in order to ensure the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program which is peaceful and will remain peaceful forever," he said. "And we hope that the agency can play a very constructive role to ensure that the world will remain peaceful."

But IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano stressed the need to move forward.

"Today's meeting is a very important opportunity for us to discuss ways forward to address all the outstanding issues regarding Iran's nuclear program," he said. "These are longstanding and complicated issues. It is very important for all of us that we can show concrete progress. Thank you."

The U.N. Security Council has hit Iran with several rounds of sanctions over its nuclear program, severely hurting Iran's economy.

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