Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Iran's 11th-hour talks at IAEA end

Eleventh hour talks between International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director Mohamed ElBaradei and Iran's nuclear energy chief ended on Wednesday after 90 minutes without public comments from either side. READ MORE

Gholamreza Aghazadeh and the two other members of the Iranian delegation avoided journalists as they left the U.N. nuclear watchdog's headquarters in Vienna.

ElBaradei had been seeking questions about Iran's nuclear program before a Friday deadline for him to deliver a report to the U.N. Security Council, which has the power to impose sanctions on Tehran.

Western powers suspect Iran's professed goal to generate nuclear energy for its economy is a smokescreen for a covert atomic bomb project. But the Security Council is deeply split over whether and how fast to pursue sanctions against Iran.

A war of words between Iran and the West has bubbled in the countdown to ElBaradei's report, due on Friday and widely expected to judge Iran to have ignored a 30-day deadline set by the Council on March 29 to suspend all enrichment-related work.