The United Nations nuclear watchdog has opened a third round of talks with Iran over its disputed nuclear programme by pressing Tehran to grant inspectors access to key sites.
The two-day meeting in Vienna comes despite previous refusals to allow entry to the Parchin military base, which the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) believes could be a centre for nuclear weapons research.
As he went into the meeting, IAEA Deputy Director-General and chief UN nuclear inspector Hermann Nackaerts told reporters: “The aim of our two days of talks is to reach an agreement on the approach to resolve all outstanding issues with Iran, in particular, the clarification of the possible military dimensions remains our priority.”
An IAEA report cited foreign intelligence that suggested that the Parchin facility had been used to conduct explosives tests in what they think was a pressure chamber.
In recent weeks, the US and Israel have stepped up the pressure on Iran over its nuclear programme which Tehran says is being developed for peaceful purposes. Washington has refused to rule out a military strike.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad says his country will not “yield an inch over its fundamental right” to nuclear capabilities.
Iran is also set for wider talks with several nuclear powers in Baghdad next week.