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UN nuclear agency reports failed Iran talks

UN nuclear agency says Iran blocked attempts to probe alleged atomic arms work at Tehran talks By The Associated Press

VIENNA (AP) ' The U.N. nuclear agency acknowledged its renewed failure Wednesday in trying to probe suspicions that Tehran has worked secretly on atomic arms, in a statement issued shortly after an Iranian general warned of a pre-emptive strike against any nation that threatens Iran.

The double signs of defiance reflected Iranian determination not to bow to demands that it defuse suspicions about its nuclear activities despite rapidly growing international sanctions imposed over its refusal to signal it is ready to compromise on the atomic dispute.

With the International Atomic Energy Agency already failing to dent Iranian stonewalling in talks that ended just three weeks ago, hopes were muted that the latest effort would be successful even before the IAEA issued its statement.

The fact that the statement was issued early Wednesday, shortly after midnight and just after the IAEA experts left Tehran, reflected the urgency the agency attached to announcing the failed outcome. The language of the statement clearly ' if indirectly ' blamed Tehran for the lack of progress.

"We engaged in a constructive spirit, but no agreement was reached," it quoted IAEA chief Yukiya Amano as saying.

The communique said that on both visits, Iran did not grant requests by the IAEA mission to visit Parchin ' a military site thought to be used for explosives testing related to setting of a nuclear weapon, and cited Amano as calling this decision "disappointing."

It also said that no agreement was reached on how to begin "clarification of unresolved issues in connection with Iran's nuclear programme, particularly those relating to possible military dimensions."

The abortive trip was just the latest sign of Iranian resolve to continue hard-line resistance in the face of international pressure to curb its nuclear activities that includes U.S. and Israeli warnings of possible last-resort military action should diplomacy fail.

Just hours before the IAEA team left, Gen. Mohammed Hejazi, who heads the military's logistical wing, warned that his nation will "not wait for enemies to take action against us."

"We will use all our means to protect our national interests," he told the semiofficial Fars news agency.

Iran asserts that the allegations of secret work on developing nuclear arms are based on fabricated evidence from the U.S. and Israel. It also insists concerns that it will turn its uranium enrichment program to making fissile warhead material are unfounded, saying it is enriching uranium only to make nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes such as producing energy.


Associated Press writer Nasser Karimi contributed from Tehran.

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