Iran provides some information in UN nuclear inquiry: IAEA
Iran has provided some information about one of two open items in a U.N. nuclear watchdog investigation into whether it may have researched an atomic bomb, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported on Friday.
The confidential IAEA report, obtained by Reuters, said Tehran had "shared some information in relation to one of these measures. The Agency and Iran agreed to continue the dialogue on these practical measures and to meet again in the near future", Reuters reported.
The latest quarterly IAEA report on Iran was issued to the U.N. agency's member states with Iran seeking to nail down final terms of an accord with six world powers on curbing its disputed nuclear program in exchange for relief from sanctions.
The seven countries have set themselves a deadline of June 30 but that is showing signs of slipping.
The Vienna-based IAEA also said it remained vital that Iran provide answers to the agency's questions on and access to the Parchin military base, where Western officials suspect Tehran conducted explosives tests relevant to nuclear bombs.
The Islamic Republic denies this and has long maintained that it is enriching uranium only for electricity and medical isotopes rather than to develop a nuclear bomb capability in secret as the West has suspected.
"The (IAEA) remains ready to accelerate the resolution of all outstanding issues under the Framework for Cooperation. This can be realized by increased cooperation by Iran and by the timely provision of access to all relevant information, documentation, sites, material and personnel in Iran as requested by the agency," the report said.
Western diplomats have viewed Iran's stonewalling of the IAEA inquiry as an indicator of the its unwillingness to cooperate fully until punitive sanctions are lifted in talks with the six powers that resumed in Vienna this week.
The United States said it is not considering negotiating beyond the end-June deadline despite comments from France and Iran indicating there was some room to do so.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is to reconvene with Iranian counterpart Mohammed Javad Zarif in Geneva on Saturday. The lead U.S. negotiator, Wendy Sherman, flew to Vienna on Wednesday for talks among Iran and the powers and will join Kerry in Geneva before resuming talks in the Austrian capital.
The deal sought by the powers would have Iran accept limits to its uranium enrichment capacity and open up to unfettered IAEA inspections to help ensure it could not put its nuclear program to developing bombs. They also want Iran to resolve all IAEA questions to build trust in its nuclear aspirations.
In return, OPEC member Iran would see a lifting of international sanctions that hobbled its oil-based economy.
A tentative agreement was reached between Iran, the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China on April 2.
But pivotal issues remain unresolved, including the pace of easing Western sanctions and the extent of monitoring and verification measures to ensure Iran honors any agreement.