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Iran Says Latest Nuclear Talks With IAEA 'Constructive'

Iran -- Olli Heinonen, deputy director-general of IAEA, holds a meeting with Iranian nuclear officials in Tehran, 29Oct2007
TEHRAN -- Iran described two days of talks with a top International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) official as "constructive" and vowed future discussions with the UN agency about Tehran's nuclear program.

The IAEA's deputy director in charge of inspections, Olli Heinonen, arrived in Tehran on August 7 for talks aimed at improving cooperation with international inspectors.

Diplomats in Vienna, where the IAEA is based, have said the visit was a fresh effort to get Iranian clarification about intelligence reports suggesting it illicitly tried to design nuclear bombs. Iran says its nuclear work is peaceful and aimed at generating electricity.

"Talks with IAEA in the past two days were constructive and the two sides have reached some agreements," Mohammad Saidi, deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, told Iran's ISNA news agency without elaborating.

"Such talks [on Iran's cooperation with the IAEA] will continue in the future," Saidi told ISNA.

The visit came amid increased threats of new sanctions by Western powers.

The so-called major powers have proposed Iran freeze any expansion of its nuclear work in return for a halt to further UN sanctions. Iran has been hit by three other rounds of sanctions since 2006.

The freeze idea was aimed at getting preliminary talks going as a stepping stone towards formal negotiations on a package of nuclear, trade and other incentives. However, Iran would have to suspend uranium enrichment for those full talks to start.

Iran has so far ruled out a freeze or the suspension of enrichment, which would start formal negotiations on the package proposed by the six powers -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.

Tehran has promised to give a "clear response" to the major powers' offer at an unspecified date.

Enrichment is the part of Iran's work that most worries the West because it can be used both for fuelling power plants and, if desired, for making bombs.

ISNA said Heinonen would leave Iran on August 9.