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IAEA chief not hopeful on Iran nuclear talks

IAEA Chief Yukiya Amano said he was not optimistic on gaining access to Iran's military facilities.

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Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) speaks before press in Tokyo on Jan. 11, 2013. (Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images)

Chief of the UN nuclear watchdog agency said Friday that he is not optimistic on gaining access to an Iranian military base the US and other Western nations allege is being used to create nuclear bombs.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Yukiya Amano said it was unclear if the Islamic Republic would grant access to its Parchin military facility, allowing the IAEA to investigate possible atomic weapon activity.

Tehran has repeatedly denied all claims of nuclear armament, and says its work is strictly energy related.

"Negotiating with Iran is quite a challenge," Amano said. "A step forward doesn't necessarily lead to another step forward. After making a step forward, there could be two steps backward, or even three steps backward. We don't know if we can resolve the remaining."

As the AP points out, the IAEA believes Iran has tested bombs that could be used to detonate a nuclear weapon at Parchin.

"The outlook is not bright," Amano said, referring to his agency's stalled investigation into Iran.

Not since 2005 have agency investigators been allowed to enter Parchin. Reuters notes Iran may be stalling, giving it time to hide or destroy evidence of past illicit activities.

"I would like Iran to understand that cooperating with the IAEA is the best thing to do," Amano said.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/iran/130111/iaea-chief-not-hopeful-iran-nuclear-talks