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. Iran, IAEA wrap up latest nuclear talks: official
TEHRAN, Dec 13 (AFP) Dec 13, 2007
Iran and UN nuclear watchdog officials have ended their latest round of talks in Tehran on the controversial Iranian atomic drive, officials said on Thursday.

The two sides tackled the issue of uranium contamination for the first time in their ongoing discussions, aimed at obtaining outstanding information from Tehran on the history of its contested nuclear programme.

"The discussions took place in a constructive climate. An extra step has been made to solve the outstanding questions on the Iranian nuclear programme," Iran's ambassador to the IAEA Ali Asghar Soltanieh told the state IRNA agency.

"During these discussions, we responded to the technical questions of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The agency will examine the results of these discussions and announce its conclusions," he added.

The two sides held three days of talks starting Monday and ending Wednesday on uranium particle contamination found in the past by UN inspectors at the technical college of Tehran University, IRNA said.

The IAEA team was led by its safeguards operations director Herman Nackaerts while the deputy head of Iran's atomic energy agency organisation, Mohammad Saeedi, represented the Iranian side.

The two sides have already held discussions about Iran's past experiments with plutonium and its use of uranium-enriching P1 and P2 centrifuges. The uranium contamination represents the latest chapter to be opened in the talks.

The talks are in line with a timetable agreed by both sides in August for Tehran to provide more information over various areas of ambiguity in its nuclear programme.

Despite four years of investigation, the IAEA has never been able to confirm if the drive is peaceful. A report published last week by the US intelligence community said Iran had halted a nuclear weapons drive in 2003.

The Vienna-based watchdog said in a report last month that Iran had taken important steps in revealing the extent of its nuclear programme but that it was still defying UN demands to suspend uranium enrichment.

The IAEA said it had sent written questions to Iran on the contamination issue on September 15 about the origin of the contamination, the nature of the equipment used and the precise equipment involved.

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