September 25, 2007 / 5:48 PM / 11 years ago

Iran and IAEA atomic talks end

TEHRAN (Reuters) - An Iranian team and U.N. experts ended two days of talks in Tehran on Tuesday to try to clear up outstanding questions about Iran’s nuclear program and agreed to meet again in mid-October, an Iranian news agency reported.

The two-day meeting was part of a plan agreed with the U.N. watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, to try to help allay Western suspicions that Iran wants to build atomic bombs. Iran says its atomic program is to generate power.

The meeting covered equipment used to enrich uranium.

Iran uses a 1970s vintage of centrifuge, called P-1s, prone to breakdown if spun at high speed for long periods but is researching an advanced P-2 model at sites off limits to IAEA inspectors. Centrifuges can enrich uranium to arms-grade.

“Talks between the two IAEA technical experts and an Iranian delegation over the P-1 and P-2 centrifuges ended on Tuesday,” Iran’s ISNA news agency quoted an “informed official” as saying.

“The official declined to tell the ISNA reporter about the contents and results of the meeting but said that both sides had agreed to have another meeting in mid-October.”

Iran agreed with the IAEA on August 21 to explain the scope of its nuclear program, which Tehran insists aims at mastering technology to generate atomic power although Western nations believe it is a covert bomb program.

The pact allows Iran to settle questions one by one over a timeline the IAEA says would run to December — even as it adds centrifuges to its Natanz enrichment plant, nearing the 3,000 needed to start producing usable quantities of nuclear fuel.

Western powers have cast doubt on the deal, saying it allows Tehran to string out answers to questions about past, hidden nuclear work while leaving intact its uranium-enrichment program, a possible path to atom bombs.

The United Nations has demanded Iran halt its enrichment program, and has slapped two rounds of sanctions on Tehran for refusing. The United States is pressing for a third round.

The IAEA has said Tehran resolved the first issue in the plan’s list relating to the nature of its nuclear work — small experiments with plutonium, kept secret in violation of Iran’s non-proliferation commitments.

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