Iran, IAEA atomic talks end, meet again mid-Oct

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TEHRAN, Sep 25 (Reuters) An Iranian team and UN experts ended two days of talks in Tehran today to try to clear up outstanding questions about Iran's nuclear programme and agreed to meet again in mid-October, an Iranian news agency reported.

The two-day meeting was part of a plan agreed with the UN watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, to try to help allay Western suspicions that Iran wants to build atomic bombs.

Iran says its atomic programme is to generate power.

The meeting covered equipment used to enrich uranium.

Iran uses a 1970s vintage of centrifuge, called P-1s, prone to breakdown if spun at high speed for long periods but is researching an advanced P-2 model at sites off limits to IAEA inspectors.

Centrifuges can enrich uranium to arms-grade.

''Talks between the two IAEA technical experts and an Iranian delegation over the P-1 and P-2 centrifuges ended today,'' Iran's ISNA news agency quoted an ''informed official'' as saying.

''The official declined to tell the ISNA reporter about the contents and results of the meeting but said that both sides had agreed to have another meeting in mid-October.'' Iran agreed with the IAEA on Aug. 21 to explain the scope of its nuclear programme, which Tehran insists aims at mastering technology to generate atomic power although Western nations believe it is a covert bomb programme.

The pact allows Iran to settle questions one by one over a timeline the IAEA says would run to December -- even as it adds centrifuges to its Natanz enrichment plant, nearing the 3,000 needed to start producing usable quantities of nuclear fuel.

Western powers have cast doubt on the deal, saying it allows Tehran to string out answers to questions about past, hidden nuclear work while leaving intact its uranium-enrichment programme, a possible path to atom bombs.

The United Nations has demanded Iran halt its enrichment programme, and has slapped two rounds of sanctions on Tehran for refusing. The United States is pressing for a third round.

The IAEA has said Tehran resolved the first issue in the plan's list relating to the nature of its nuclear work -- small experiments with plutonium, kept secret in violation of Iran's non-proliferation commitments.

REUTERS AE PM2355

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