Iran still not backing up nuclear claims: watchdog

The Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) arrives for lunch with the Vice President of the European Commission at the Iranian Embassy during the P5+1 talks with Iran in Vienna on November 18, 2014.

The Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) arrives for lunch with the Vice President of the European Commission at the Iranian Embassy during the P5+1 talks with Iran in Vienna on November 18, 2014.

The head of the U.N. nuclear agency said on Thursday that Iran had failed to provide explanations about suspected atomic bomb research, as a deadline looms for a comprehensive deal between Iran and six world powers to end the long-running controversy.

Iran is currently holding negotiations with the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China in Vienna, in a push to reach an agreement by the Nov. 24 deadline.

The final deal is intended to set limits on Iran’s nuclear program in return for an end to international sanctions on the country.

Western officials say Iran must stop stonewalling the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) 12-year-old investigation into allegations that Iran may have worked on designing an atomic bomb.

However, IAEA director general Yukiya Amano made clear the agency was still far from satisfied.

“Iran has not provided any explanations that enable the agency to clarify the outstanding practical measures,” he told a meeting of the U.N. agency’s 35-nation board of governors.

He was referring to two steps that Iran had agreed to carry out by late August, by providing information to the IAEA concerning allegations of explosives tests and other activity that could be used to develop nuclear bombs.

“I call upon Iran to increase its cooperation with the agency and to provide timely access to all relevant information, documentation, sites, material and personnel,” Amano said.

Iran denies any intention of seeking atomic weapons, saying its nuclear program is aimed at generating electricity.

 
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