Iran,IAEA talks resume in Austria (Lead)

July 24th, 2008 - 6:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Vienna, July 24 (IANS) Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Thursday resumed talks in the Austrian capital over the Islamic country’s nuclear stand-off with the West, IRNA reported. IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei met head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Reza Aqazadeh, in a closed-door session in the follow up of the July 19 Geneva meeting to hear Tehran’s response to West’s demand for its suspension of enrichment activities.

Last Saturday in Geneva, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeid Jalili and European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana met over a package of incentives proposed by the five veto powers plus Germany (P5+1) in exchange of Tehran’s undertaking to stop enrichment activities.

Iran at the meeting failed to commit itself to stopping enrichment as demanded by West, which gave it a deadline of two weeks to come up with a clear answer.

While President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had hailed the Geneva meet, Iran has insisted on various platforms that it would not compromise on what it calls “sovereign right” of uranium enrichment.

Tehran has however its own proposals for settling the nuclear dispute, reportedly within a long-term negotiation process.

For the first time in almost three decades, the US, represented by Undersecretary of State William Burns, also attended official talks with arch-foe Iran in Geneva.

The Western powers fear that Iran might be using its nuclear programme to work on a secret military project.

Tehran dismisses the suspicions, saying its nuclear programmes are for civilian purposes only in line with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and supervised by the UN nuclear watchdog IAEA.

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