VIENNA — The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed yesterday that it will resume talks with Iran on Tehran’s nuclear programme in mid-May. Iran’s envoy to the UN watchdog, Ali Asghar Soltanieh told the official news agency Irna on Friday that a new round of talks would be held in Vienna on May 13 and 14.
But IAEA spokeswoman Gill Tudor said in an email yesterday that the talks would be a day later on May 14 and 15. “The purpose is to continue the negotiations started early this year,” Tudor said. The watchdog said in late February that it “continues to have serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme.”
Its concerns reflect suspicions by the United States and its European allies that Iran is seeking a nuclear weapons capability under the cover of its civilian atomic programme. But Soltanieh said the resumption of talks “once again proves Iran’s determination to co-operate with the agency, confirms that claims against Iran are baseless, and shows that all of the Islamic republic’s nuclear activities are peaceful.”
Separate talks between Iran and the so-called P5+1 group, comprising the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany, were revived this month in Istanbul and are to go to an important new round in Baghdad on May 23.
The discussions are expected to explore technical issues related to expanding inspections of Tehran’s nuclear activities. Soltanieh said they would be aimed at “finding a framework and modality to respond to the (IAEA’s) questions.” — AFP