Iran Nuclear Talks Require Urgency, IAEA Chief Amano Says

Greater urgency is needed to break the deadlock in talks between United Nations monitors and Iran over greater access to suspected nuclear facilities, International Atomic Energy Agency director Yukiya Amano said.

“Negotiations must proceed with a sense of urgency and a focus on achieving results in the near term,” Amano said in a speech in Vienna today to the IAEA’s board of governors. The 35-member board is meeting in the Austrian capital less than a week after diplomats adjourned a two-day round of talks about Iran’s nuclear work in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

The IAEA said on Feb. 21 that while Iran rolled out new atomic technology and boosted its output of enriched uranium, the Persian Gulf country hadn’t diverted any of its stockpile to non-peaceful purposes. Iran, under dozens of international sanctions for alleged atomic-weapons work, maintains its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

Amano also called on Iran “to provide access to the Parchin site without further delay, whether or not agreement has been reached on the structured approach.” After more than a year of talks, inspectors and Iran have failed to agree on a so-called structured approach that would allow wider inspections.

The IAEA says it was provided with intelligence that Iran built a blast chamber for testing nuclear-weapons components at the Parchin military complex, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) southeast of Tehran.

Iran and the P5+1 group -- comprising China, France, Germany, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S. -- will hold separate technical talks in Istanbul on March 18 and another round of political discussions in Almaty on April 5-6.

Separately, Amano announced the IAEA’s intention to formally fund its Action Plan for Nuclear Safety, a program set up after the March 11, 2011, tsunami caused the meltdown of three nuclear reactors in Fukushima, Japan. The agency has budgeted 5.7 million euros ($7.4 million) to boost nuclear safety, he said.

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