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Iran atom deal possible in week or so--ElBaradei

Written by: Staff
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VIENNA, Mar 6 (Reuters) The chief of the U N nuclear watchdog said today he was hopeful a deal over Iran's atomic programme could be reached in the next week or so, citing a surge of diplomacy involving Russia and European Union powers.

Mohamed ElBaradei, speaking just before an International Atomic Energy Agency meeting that may be a prelude to U N Security Council action against Iran, also said international security was at stake in efforts to resolve the crisis.

''I am still very much hopeful that in the next week or so an agreement could be reached,'' he said, while acknowledging Russia's compromise proposal to enrich uranium for Iran had run into problems because of Tehran's determination to purify nuclear fuel itself.

Western leaders pushing for Security Council action to rein in Tehran suspect it is trying to build atomic bombs under cover of a civilian atomic energy programme. Iran denies this, saying its goal is solely nuclear-generated electricity.

REUTERS OM DS1512

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