Iran says progress made in U.N. nuclear talks

DUBAI Sat Jan 19, 2013 3:32pm IST

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DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran said it had made some progress in resolving its disputes with the U.N. atomic watchdog, state media reported, even though the two sides' latest talks failed to seal a deal on letting inspectors visit a military site.

The Islamic state and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) met this week, but did not manage to revive an investigation into Iran's suspected nuclear arms research, the U.N. organisation's officials said on Friday.

Iran's ambassador to the body, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, later said some progress had been made in the talks, Press TV reported.

"We had two days of intensive talks and we were able to in fact bridge the gap to some extent," Soltanieh was quoted as saying late on Friday.

"There was agreement with the agency about some issues, but no document has been signed yet ... In terms of getting views closer together and resolving some disputes the negotiations with the agency were successful," he told state news agency IRNA.

Soltanieh, however, stuck to Iran's stance that it would not stop uranium enrichment "for a second".

The West suspects Iran is working to develop the ability to make nuclear bombs - an accusation dismissed by Tehran which says its atomic work is focused on generating electricity and other peaceful projects.

Israel, a U.S. ally believed to harbour the Middle East's sole nuclear arsenal, has threatened to bomb Iranian nuclear sites if it judges diplomacy and sanctions meant to curb Iran's uranium enrichment programme to have failed irretrievably.

IAEA inspectors want to get into Iran's Parchin military complex where they believe explosives tests relevant to nuclear weapons development may have taken place. Iran denies the allegation.

Further talks are scheduled on February 12 between Iran and the IAEA - an organisation set up to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

(Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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