Iranian Foreign Minister to meet IAEA chief Sunday
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was set to meet International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Yukiya Amano over the weekend, the IAEA said Friday, amid Iran's efforts to lobby against new UN sanctions.
Austria is currently a member of the UN Security Council in New York, where new punitive measures are being discussed to pressure Iran into halting its controversial nuclear programme, DPA reported.
Mottaki will meet Amano on Sunday, IAEA spokeswoman Gill Tudor confirmed.
Diplomats in Vienna said the Iranian minister secured the encounter with the nuclear agency chief on short notice, after having asked for a meeting with Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger.
Meanwhile, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Friday was travelling to Uganda, another current Security Council member.
The United States and other Western countries on the council are pushing for additional sanctions, as Iran has not fully cooperated with the IAEA in recent months and has started to enrich uranium to higher levels than before.
The IAEA has been asking Iran for years to answer questions about possible nuclear weapons research, but Tehran's leaders have refused to do so and argue that the nuclear programme is geared only towards energy and science.
Last autumn, the Vienna-based nuclear agency tried to broker a deal with Iran, the US, Russia and France to process Iran's enriched uranium into reactor fuel abroad, rather than in the country. So far, Tehran has not accepted the deal.