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IAEA says Iran nuclear deal coming 'soon'

Yukiya Amano, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), says he expects Iran to sign up to an inspection agreement "quite soon."

Iran IAEA nuclear talks 14 05 2012Enlarge
International Atomic Energy Agency director general Yukiya Amano at a board meeting at the UN atomic agency headquarters in Vienna. (DIETER NAGL/AFP/Getty Images)

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has reached a deal with Iran to resume its investigation into Iranian nuclear activities, the head of the UN watchdog said today.

The New York Times reported that IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano returned this morning from Tehran, where he says there was an "important development" in negotiations to enable his agency to investigate whether Iran's nuclear program is peaceful. 

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"The decision was made to conclude and sign the agreement," Amano said, following his meeting with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili.

They have not yet agreed on everything, he added, but the IAEA expects the "almost clean text" to be signed "quite soon."

Amano specified that the deal would address the question of access to Iran's Parchin military site, the BBC reported. The IAEA suspects that scientists may have carried out tests of explosives suitable for use in nuclear weapons there, but has not yet been allowed to carry out an inspection.

Iran is due to meet for talks in the Iraqi capital Baghdad tomorrow with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.

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According to the Associated Press, the six other countries aim to get Iran to agree to limit its uranium-enrichment program, which they fear could supply material for use in nuclear arms. In return for concessions, Iran will seek to persuade the Western powers to lift economic sanctions.

"The Iranian nation welcomes real and fair negotiations and meantime insists on its rights," Iran's Fars news agency cited Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani as saying today.

Meanwhile Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned the group of six not to let Iran "push them around" at tomorrow's talks, Israeli daily Haaretz reported. Netanyahu insists they should demand that Iran halt all uranium enrichment, get rid of any uranium already enriched, and dismantle its enrichment facilities.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/iran/120522/iaea-iran-nuclear-deal-coming-soon