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Iran, IAEA meetings rescheduled

Jan. 14, 2014 at 9:41 AM

TEHRAN, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Iran's deputy foreign minister said Tuesday meetings with the International Atomic Energy Agency have been delayed more than two weeks to Feb. 8.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said the next round of talks in Tehran with the IAEA were rescheduled from their Jan. 21 start to Feb. 8, Iran's semiofficial Fars News Agency reports.

Ali Akbar Salehi, director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, announced the original schedule with the IAEA last week. Araqchi offered no explanation for the delay.

The announcement follows a deal to start the process for an interim nuclear agreement whereby Iran agrees to suspend some nuclear research activity in exchange for relief from some economic sanctions.

Iran and Western negotiating partners agreed in Geneva, Switzerland, to implement the terms of the deal starting Jan. 20.

Iran is suspected of pursuing the technology needed to manufacture a nuclear weapon, a charge it denies. IAEA inspectors last year said there may be a military dimension to certain aspects of Iran's uranium enrichment program.

Elsewhere, Araqchi said he anticipated meeting with Catherine Ashton, the chief foreign policy official from the European Union, once the nuclear deal enters into force.

Ashton played a key role in negotiating the interim deal with Iran.

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