Iran pledges ‘new approaches’ to dispute with nuclear watchdog

Iran pledged Monday that it would take “new approaches” to resolve longstanding issues with the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said he had "very useful and constructive" discussions with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano, according to Reuters.

Araghchi said he had presented proposals to the IAEA director that would be examined in more detail later Monday.

The IAEA has said for years that Tehran was preventing the nuclear watchdog from investigating potential military components to Iran’s nuclear program, raising fears that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons.

ADVERTISEMENT
In March, Amano said the IAEA could not provide “credible assurance” that Iran doesn’t have hidden nuclear material at its Parchin military site.

Monday’s meeting was the first high-level Iranian-IAEA meeting since Iranian President Hassan Rouhani took office this summer.

Rouhani’s election has spurred hopes that Iran may be more willing to compromise on its nuclear program in order to stop painful sanctions from the United States and the West.

Both Tehran and the six world powers, which are negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program, came away from a meeting earlier this month with some optimism after “substantive” talks.

The two sides have planned to meet again next month.

Araghchi and Amano met in Vienna on Monday, in what is the 12th technical-level meeting between Iran and the IAEA since January 2012, according to Reuters.

The parties said they would meet again on Tuesday.

"I am very hopeful that we can come out with a good result," Araghchi told reporters after Monday’s meeting ended.

“We think this is the time to take a new approach to resolving [questions] between Iran and the IAEA and look to the future for further cooperation,” he said.

Amano said it was important for the two sides to show “concrete progress,” according to Reuters.

Iran insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, a statement that Araghchi reiterated Monday.

The United States and its Western allies suspect that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons, and have enacted sanctions in an attempt to drive Iran to the negotiating table to scale back its nuclear program.