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. Talks with UN nuclear watchdog positive: Iran
TEHRAN, Aug 8 (AFP) Aug 08, 2008
Iran said on Friday talks on its controversial nuclear drive with top UN atomic watchdog official Olli Heinonen were "positive", as EU governments imposed fresh sanctions on the Islamic republic.

Heinonen, deputy head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), wrapped up two days of meetings with Iranian nuclear officials who did not give further details on the nature of the talks in Tehran.

"Current developments as well as relations between Iran's atomic energy organisation and the IAEA were discussed in a positive atmosphere," said the deputy chief of Iran's atomic energy organisation, Mohammad Saeedi, according to the state-run IRNA news agency.

It was not clear if the IAEA mission was directly related to a package of incentives being offered to Tehran if it freezes uranium enrichment, a process Western nations fear could be diverted to build an atomic weapon.

A diplomat close to the IAEA had said Heinonen's visit was likely to concentrate on clarifying outstanding questions the watchdog has about Iran's nuclear programme rather than the incentives offer.

European Union nations said on Friday they have introduced new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme, including restrictions on public loans and tougher cargo inspections.

The new measures came after Tehran gave an ambiguous answer to the big powers' demand that it freezes key nuclear work.

The Security Council has already ordered three rounds of sanctions against Iran.

Heinonen has made a series of visits to Iran as part of the IAEA's long-standing efforts to ensure there is no military dimension to its nuclear programme. The last visit was on April 28.

In his most recent report on Iran in May, IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei accused Tehran of withholding key information on so-called weaponisation studies.

Iran insists that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty it has the right to develop nuclear technology which it says is aimed at generating electricity for its growing population.

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