After a crucial visit to Iran, the United Nation’s atomic watchdog chief said Friday that both sides in the nuclear talks have a “better understanding” in some areas but that more work is required.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) head Yukiya Amano visited Tehran on Thursday with the aim of clearing up one of the thorniest issues in talks in Vienna towards a historic nuclear deal between Iran and major powers.
“I believe that both sides have a better understanding on some ways forward, though more work will be needed,” Amano said in a statement.
The issue concerns a stalled IAEA probe into allegations that before 2003, and possibly since, Iran conducted research work into developing nuclear weapons.
Iran rejects the allegations, saying they are based on bogus intelligence provided to a gullible and partial IAEA by the likes of the CIA and Israel’s Mossad.
The talks between Iran and the P5+1 -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany -- are focused more on the future capacities of Iran’s nuclear programme.
But the major powers say that advancing the IAEA’s investigation, which could require the agency to visit military sites, is vital for the wider accord, which they aim to close by Tuesday.
Negotiations to conclude ‘in coming days’
Earlier on Friday, Russia’s top negotiator Sergei Ryabkov said the marathon negotiations are set to be successfully concluded “in the coming days.”
“I can’t predict how many hours it will take to resolve this situation. But all parties are of the opinion that this matter will be resolved in the coming days,” Ryabkov told the Russian TASS news agency.
He added that the text Iran and the P5+1 world powers were working on to outline the deal was “91 percent finished.”
Russia’s deputy foreign minister also praised Thursday’s visit to Tehran by the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano, which Ryabkov said helped to bring “greater clarity” to the negotiations.
Ryabkov himself was to leave Vienna, where the the negotiations have been taking place, on Thursday.
The Kremlin meanwhile announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani are to meet in the Russian city of Ufa next week, during the July 9-10 Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit.
“We are indeed preparing such a meeting,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.
Iran and the P5+1 group -- the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany -- have effectively given themselves until Tuesday to reach the landmark nuclear deal.
The P5+1 are seeking to finalise a long-sought accord which will put a nuclear bomb beyond Iran’s reach, in return for lifting biting sanctions against the Islamic republic.
It would end a 13-year standoff over Iran’s suspect nuclear program, and draw the curtain on almost two years of intense negotiations which resumed in earnest after Rowhani came to power in August 2013.SHOW MORE