(Updates with comment from IAEA inspector in second paragraph, UN head in fifth.)
Feb. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Nuclear talks between senior United Nations officials and members of Iran’s government progressed enough for both sides to commit to more negotiations.
“We had a good trip,” International Atomic Energy Agency Chief Inspector Herman Nackaerts told reporters today at Vienna International Airport after returning from Iran. “There still is a lot of work to be done and so we have planned another trip in the very near future.” He declined to elaborate.
IAEA inspectors had three days of “intensive discussions” with Iranian authorities, who said they were committed to addressing allegations that Tehran’s government embarked on nuclear-weapons studies, according to Nackaerts. Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi called the outcome of the negotiations “very good,” state-run Fars news agency reported.
The IAEA trip to Iran came as military tensions in the region rise. European Union foreign ministers agreed on Jan. 23 to ban oil imports from Iran and to freeze Iranian central bank assets. Iranian officials have said they would block the Strait of Hormuz, a transit route for a fifth of globally traded oil, if military action were taken against their country.
“There is no alternative to a peaceful resolution of this issue,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today at a news conference in Jerusalem. “I am deeply concerned by the latest reports of the International Atomic Energy Agency that indicate the possibility of a military dimension to the Iranian nuclear- development programs.”
While the agency confirmed Iran hasn’t used its declared uranium stockpile to make weapons, inspectors said they have credible intelligence showing the country studied how to make a nuclear bomb. Iran, under four sets of UN sanctions, says it only wants atomic power.
--With assistance from Jonathan Ferziger in Tel Aviv and Calev Ben-David in Jerusalem. Editor: Jennifer M. Freedman
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