IAEA, Iran to hold first nuclear talks since Rouhani election

Reuters News
|
Posted: Aug 28, 2013 6:21 AM

VIENNA (Reuters) - The U.N. nuclear watchdog and Iran will hold a new round of talks on September 27 over Tehran's disputed atomic program, the first such meeting since relative moderate Hassan Rouhani took office as Iranian president.

The meeting will be held in Vienna, a spokeswoman for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said. It would be the 11th round of discussions between the two sides since early 2012, so far without any result.

The talks will be scrutinized by the West for any sign of increased Iranian readiness to compromise in the decade-old international dispute over its nuclear program after the June election of Rouhani. He has pledged more transparency and less confrontation in dealings with the IAEA and world powers.

Iran and the IAEA last met in May, without achieving a breakthrough that would allow the U.N. agency to resume a long-stalled investigation into what it calls the possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program.

Western officials accuse Iran of stonewalling the IAEA's inquiry into suspected atomic bomb research. Iran says the allegations that it may have carried out tests relevant for developing atomic bombs are baseless and forged.

Rouhani replaced Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a conservative hardliner under whom Iran's relations with the IAEA deteriorated. Tehran said on Monday it had named a disarmament expert as its new IAEA ambassador, extending a reshuffle of top officials dealing with the nuclear program.

(Reporting by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Mark Heinrich)