U.N. nuclear chief hopes for new Iran talks soon

LONDON Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:32pm BST

Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) speaks during the High-level meeting on Countering Nuclear Terrorism on the sidelines of the 67th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 28, 2012. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) speaks during the High-level meeting on Countering Nuclear Terrorism on the sidelines of the 67th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 28, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

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LONDON (Reuters) - U.N. nuclear watchdog chief Yukiya Amano said on Wednesday he hoped a new high-level meeting with Iran about Tehran's disputed atomic programme could be held "quite soon".

Amano, during a visit to London, also told Reuters the U.N. agency continued to see activity at Iran's Parchin military site, an apparent reference to suspected efforts by Iran to clean the site of any illicit operations.

Asked whether Iran was continuing to dismantle the facility, which U.N. inspectors want to visit and now only monitor via satellite imagery, Amano said: "Yes ... We continue to see activities."

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a Vienna-based U.N. agency tasked with preventing the spread of nuclear arms in the world, is trying to resume a long-stalled probe into suspected atom bomb research in the Islamic Republic.

Amano said the IAEA was committed to dialogue with Iran: "We are willing to meet with them in the very near future ... I hope we can have a meeting quite soon."

A senior IAEA team has held a series of meetings with Iran since January, but the talks have yet to yield concrete results. The last round of discussions took place in August.

Iran denies Western accusations that it is seeking to develop the capability to make nuclear bombs. But its refusal to curb work which can have both civilian and military purposes has drawn increasingly tough Western sanctions.

(Reporting by Maria Golovnina; Writing by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Alison Williams)

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