UN nuclear chief: Deal reached on Iran probe

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano briefs the media after his trip to Tehran upon his arrival at the international airport in Vienna May 22, 2012 (Reuters/Leonhard Foeger)
The chief of the UN nuclear agency says he has reached a deal with Iran over probing suspected work on nuclear weapons, and adds that the agreement will be "signed quite soon."

­Yukiya Amano says some details still need to be worked out. But he told reporters Iranian officials say those will not stand in the way of signing the deal, AP reports.

Amano spoke Tuesday on return from Tehran talks on resuming a long-stalled probe into suspicions that Iran secretly worked on developing nuclear weapons.

The investigation has been halted for more than four years, with Iran saying it never carried out such experiments.

Tehran has now agreed to terms that will allow IAEA probes of suspect Iranian sites, including the Parchin military complex where the agency has reported suspicious activities in the past.

Tehran denies working on atomic weapons, saying that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes like research and cancer treatment only. It claims Parchin is merely a conventional weapons site.

Inspecting Parchin, southeast of the capital Tehran, was a key request made by senior IAEA teams that visited Tehran in January and February. Parchin is especially significant since the IAEA believes Iran in 2003 ran explosive tests needed to set off a nuclear charge there. The suspected blasts took place inside a pressure chamber. Iran has never said whether the chamber existed, and rebuffed those demands at the time.

But with both Iran and the IAEA reporting progress in talks last week, anticipation ahead of the latest visit was high. Nevertheless, Amano said he could not predict whether he would clinch a deal allowing his agency to renew its long-stalled probe.

For Yukiya Amano this was the first visit to Iran since becoming the International Atomic Energy Agency chief in 2009.

Amano’s one-day trip also acted as a mood-setter for talks between Iran and the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany).

The meeting is to be held in Baghdad on May 23.