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IAEA: Iran Still Stalling Nuclear Inquiry as Deal Deadline Looms

Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif answers lawmakers questions on nuclear talks at the Iran Parliament, Jan. 6, 2015.

Iran has still not addressed specific issues that could feed suspicions it may have researched an atomic bomb, a U.N. watchdog report showed on Thursday, potentially complicating efforts by six powers to clinch a nuclear deal with Tehran.

Iran and U.S. negotiators will resume talks over Tehran's nuclear program in Geneva on Friday to narrow remaining gaps aimed at ending a 12-year standoff with the powers, Iran's state news agency IRNA reported on Thursday.

The confidential report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), obtained by Reuters, said Tehran was continuing to withhold full cooperation in two areas of an IAEA investigation that it was supposed to have given by August last year.

"Iran has not provided any explanations that enable the agency to clarify the outstanding practical measures,'' the IAEA said, referring to allegations of explosives tests and other activity that could be used to develop nuclear bombs.

Western diplomats have viewed such stalling as an indicator of Iran's unwillingness to cooperate fully until punitive sanctions are lifted in talks with the United States, Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain.

The IAEA document about the U.N. inquiry, which runs parallel to the big power talks, was issued to IAEA member states only weeks before a deadline in late March for a framework agreement between Iran and the powers.

The countries have imposed a June 30 deadline on themselves for a final settlement. Iran denies any intention of seeking atomic weapons, saying its nuclear energy program is aimed at generating electricity only.