DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran will discuss “other solutions” to Western demands that it allow U.N. inspectors access to its military sites and to interview its nuclear scientists, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted on Sunday as saying.
The question of access for international inspectors has become one of the main sticking points between Tehran and six world powers as they try to overcome obstacles to a final nuclear agreement one month before of a deadline.
“We have decided to discuss other solutions to resolve this issue,” Zarif was quoted as saying by the Mehr news agency, after holding six hours of meetings on Saturday with his U.S. counterpart John Kerry.
Western officials say inspections of military sites by U.N. watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and access to Iran’s scientists are critical to checking whether Iran is pursuing a clandestine nuclear weapons program.
Iran denies any ambition to develop a nuclear weapon and says its program is purely peaceful.
The United States and France have threatened to block any deal that does not allow access but Iran’s Supreme Leader has explicitly ruled out any inspections or interviews, creating an obstacle ahead of the June 30 deadline to reach an agreement.
Zarif did not give further details about how Iranian negotiators planned to resolve the issue and said there were still several points of difference between Iran and the United States, implying there had been no major breakthrough in his bilateral talks with Kerry.
“We have decided to work full time for the next three or four weeks to see whether or not it will be possible to reach an agreement,” he said.
Reporting by Sam Wilkin; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky