VIENNA (AP) — A top U.N. nuclear official says his team could "could not find a way forward" in attempts to persuade Iran to talk about suspected secret work on atomic arms.
Herman Nackaerts of the International Atomic Energy Agency says the talks in Tehran were inconclusive, although his mission approached the talks "in a constructive spirit."
Nackaerts spoke to reporters at Vienna airport Wednesday shortly after returning from the Iranian capital. The IAEA announcement came shortly after an Iranian general warned of a pre-emptive strike against any nation that threatens Iran.
An IAEA statement published overnight already acknowledged the talks had failed.
Iran denies it has experimented with nuclear arms programs but has refused to cooperate with an IAEA probe on the issue for nearly four years.
The double signs of defiance reflected continued 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.
With the International Atomic Energy Agency already failing to dent Iranian stonewalling in talks that ended just three weeks ago, hopes had been muted that the latest effort would be any more successful even before the IAEA issued its statement.
The fact that the communique was issued early Wednesday, shortly after midnight and just after the IAEA experts left Tehran, reflected the urgency the agency attached to telling its side of the story.
As the two-day IAEA visit was winding down, Iranian officials sought to cast it in a positive light, with foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast telling reporters that "cooperation with the agency continues and is at its best level."
Beyond differing with that view, the language of the IAEA communique 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 nuclear detonations, 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."