Middle East

World powers round on Iran at IAEA

Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Ali Asghar Soltanieh takes notes as he attends the Board of Governors meeting at the UN atomic agency headquarters in Vienna on June 4, 2013. AFP PHOTO/ALEXANDER KLEIN

VIENNA: Six world powers engaged in stalled talks with Iran over its nuclear programme will show a united front with a joint statement at a meeting of the UN atomic agency, diplomats said Tuesday.

The United States, China, Russia, Britain and France -- the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- plus Germany will express deep concern about Tehran's defiant and continued expansion of its nuclear activities, the envoys said.

The statement was to be delivered by Germany's representative later Tuesday or Wednesday at a closed-door meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-nation board of governors in Vienna.

The powers will also admonish the Islamic republic over 10 failed meetings with the IAEA on what the watchdog suspects may have been efforts towards developing nuclear weapons, mostly before 2003 but possibly ongoing.

Iran denies pursuing atomic weapons and says that UN Security Council resolutions calling for a suspension of the most sensitive parts of its nuclear programme are illegal.

Tehran maintains the programme is strictly for energy purposes.

The six powers, which last held talks with Iran in April in Kazakhstan, were expected to refrain from putting to the IAEA board what would be a 13th resolution criticising Iran, diplomats said.

The IAEA's latest quarterly report on Iran, circulated on May 22, showed the country continuing to build up its capacity to enrich uranium, which in highly purified form could be used in a nuclear weapon.

It also detailed advances by Iran building a new reactor at Arak which could provide Tehran with plutonium -- an alternative to uranium for a bomb -- if the reactor fuel is reprocessed.

 

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