• IAEA, Iran talks fail again as US hikes pressure

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    VIENNA: Nuclear talks between Iran and the UN atomic agency failed yet again on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila), as the top US diplomat in separate six-party negotiations warned Washington’s patience was wearing thin.

    International discussions on Iran’s nuclear ambitions were held in Istanbul and Vienna but the Western reactions afterwards ranged from tepid to disappointed.

    While the EU’s foreign policy chief met Iran’s top nuclear negotiator in Istanbul for the first time since a fruitless effort in early April, the UN atomic body’s chief inspector admitted the parallel Vienna talks had ended without a deal.

    “We could not finalize the structured approach document that has been under negotiation for a year and a half,” the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) chief Insp. Herman Nackaerts told reporters.

    “Our best efforts have not been successful so far.”

    Iran’s envoy to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, was characteristically more upbeat, saying that the next meeting would see a deal finalized, although Nackaerts said no new gathering had been arranged.

    “The aim of this . . . is to bridge the gaps towards a conclusion of the text by the next meeting,” Soltanieh told a joint press briefing.

    EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton called her discussions with Iran’s chief negotiator Saeed Jalili “useful.”

    “We will now reflect on how to go on to the next stage of the process,” she said in a statement.

    The IAEA wants Iran to grant access to sites, documents and scientists involved in Tehran’s alleged efforts to develop atomic weapons, which the agency suspects mostly took place before 2003 but are possibly still ongoing.

    AFP

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