Iran, IAEA end latest nuclear talks, no details

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TEHRAN, Oct 11 (Reuters) Iran and the UN atomic watchdog ended the latest round of talks today aimed at clearing up suspicions about Iranian nuclear activity, news agencies said, without saying what was achieved.

The negotiations between senior officials from Iran and the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will resume in the ''near future'', Iran's ISNA news agency reported, following a three-day meeting in Tehran.

Iran agreed in August to explain past nuclear work it kept secret for 18 years, raising suspicions of an illicit bid for atom bombs. Tehran, which stonewalled IAEA investigators for years, is to provide answers in phases by the end of the year.

IAEA Director Mohamed ElBaradei will report to the IAEA's 35-nation board of governors in mid-November. If Iran has not answered sensitive questions by then, Western powers say they will move to have harsh UN sanctions adopted against Iran.

The West fears Iran is covertly trying to develop nuclear arms. Iran says it seeks only nuclear-generated electricity.

As part of the deal, an Iranian team met IAEA officials in late September to address questions about centrifuges used for uranium enrichment. The process can make fuel for nuclear power plants or, if Iran wanted, material for nuclear warheads.

The latest round of talks was held between Olli Heinonen, IAEA deputy director in charge of non-proliferation safeguards, and Iran's deputy nuclear negotiator, Javad Vaeedi.

Discussions covered P-1 and P-2 centrifuges, diplomats said.

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

Iran's transparency deal with the IAEA has been criticised by the United States and allies for ignoring UN resolutions demanding Iran suspend enrichment.

The UN Security Council has imposed two sets of limited sanctions on Iran for its refusal to halt enrichment.

Big powers agreed to delay further UN sanctions at least until November to see if the IAEA-Iran plan yields results, and to await a report by European Union negotiator Javier Solana on talks meant to nudge Iran towards a suspension.

REUTERS AE BST2010

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