* U.N. nuclear watchdog reported failed Tehran talks
* Iranian envoy hopes for more meetings
(Adds IAEA report due later on Friday, quote, detail)
By Fredrik Dahl
VIENNA, Feb 24 Iran wants more talks with
the U.N. nuclear watchdog, its ambassador to the body said,
despite what one Western envoy called "very long and fruitless"
negotiations this week on addressing suspicions about Tehran's
The relatively upbeat comments by Iran's ambassador to the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were in stark contrast
to a terse statement issued by the U.N. agency on Wednesday
after the two days of discussions in Tehran.
The Vienna-based agency is later on Friday expected to issue
its latest quarterly report on Iran's nuclear programme, giving
details on this week's meetings in Tehran and the overall status
of the Islamic state's uranium enrichment drive, diplomats say.
The report to member states could form the basis for any
diplomatic action against Iran at a March meeting of the IAEA's
35-nation board, which has the power to adopt resolutions and
can report a country to the U.N. Security Council.
Iran's envoy to the IAEA stressed the need for dialogue,
warning against any "provocation" that could jeopardise this.
"Our position is that we are going to continue the talks for
cooperation with the agency and we hope that this process will
be successfully going on," ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh said.
"We need a quiet environment, a calm environment to continue
our professional work with the agency," he told Reuters late on
The IAEA said no further meetings with Iran were planned,
signalling frustration at the lack of progress in two rounds of
talks this year.
The setback has increased fears of a spiral towards conflict
between Iran and the West, and sent oil prices higher.
Western diplomats suspect Iran is merely seeking "talks
about talks" in an attempt to ease outside pressure on the
Islamic state while it presses ahead with nuclear work which the
United States and its allies believe has military aims.
Iran says nuclear weapons claims are baseless and its
programme is aimed at electricity generation and medical needs.
"We try to be cooperative," said Soltanieh. "We are dealing
with the questions and we are trying to remove ambiguities."
The IAEA said Iranian officials refused to grant it access
to a military site crucial for its investigations and that there
was no agreement on a way forward to clarify concerns that the
Islamic Republic may be developing nuclear arms capability.
Western diplomats said Iran had continued to stonewall the
senior IAEA team during the talks, in which the agency sought
answers to intelligence pointing to nuclear weapons research and
"Essentially they had two very long and fruitless meetings,"
one Western envoy in Vienna said.
The Iranian side "systematically just claimed they have no
clandestine programme and therefore any questions raised (about
possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear programme) were
either incorrect or invalid", the diplomat added.
An IAEA report in November suggested Iran had pursued
military nuclear technology. This helped to precipitate the
latest sanctions by the European Union and United States.
One finding was information that Iran had built a large
containment chamber at the Parchin military site near Tehran to
conduct high-explosives tests. The U.N. agency said there were
"strong indicators of possible weapon development".
Asked why Iran had not allowed the U.N. inspectors to visit
Parchin, Soltanieh said: "For any visit and access there should
be some sort of modality and agreement.
"It was assumed that after we agreed on the modality then
access would be given. Since the modality was not concluded due
to time constraints ... this was not possible."
(Editing by Janet Lawrence)