UN nuclear agency reports failed Iran talks

Iran nuclear programme
Vienna, Feb 22: The UN nuclear agency on Wedbesday acknowledged its renewed failure in trying to probe suspicions that Tehran has worked secretly on atomic arms, in a statement issued shortly after an Iranian general warned of a pre- emptive strike against any nation that threatens Iran.

The double signs of defiance reflected continued Iranian determination not to bow to demands that it defuse suspicions about its nuclear activities despite rapidly growing international sanctions imposed over its refusal to signal it is ready to compromise.

With the International Atomic Energy Agency already failing to dent Iranian stonewalling in talks that ended just three weeks ago, hopes had been muted that the latest effort would be any more successful even before the IAEA issued its statement.

The fact that the communique was issued early today, shortly after midnight and just after the IAEA experts left Tehran, reflected the urgency the agency attached to telling its side of the story.

As the two-day IAEA visit was winding down, Iranian officials sought to cast it in a positive light, with foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast telling reporters that "cooperation with the agency continues and is at its best level."

Beyond differing with that view, the language of the IAEA communique clearly, if indirectly, blamed Tehran for the lack of progress.

"We engaged in a constructive spirit, but no agreement was reached," it quoted IAEA chief Yukiya Amano as saying.


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