Soltaniyeh: Iran, IAEA to Attend Daylong Talks in Tehran
(FNA)- Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency said IAEA chief Yukiya Amano will arrive in Tehran tonight to attend daylong talks with senior Iranian officials on Monday.
Ali Asqar Soltaniyeh, who has come to Iran to take part in tomorrow's negotiations between Amano and Iran's chief negotiator Saeed Jalili, told FNA on Sunday that the talks would last only for one day.
Amano's visit to Iran will follow two rounds of Iran-IAEA talks in Vienna earlier this week and precedes a high-profile meeting between Iran and the six world powers in Baghdad on Wednesday.
Amano, accompanied by IAEA chief inspector Hermann Nackaerts and agency number two Rafael Grossi, would meet other "senior representatives of the Iranian government" for talks "to discuss issues of mutual interest" in his first trip to Iran since becoming head of the IAEA.
An IAEA statement announced yesterday that Amano's visit to Iran would replace the talks that had been set to resume on Monday in Vienna between Soltaniyeh and Nackaerts.
Diplomats said the fact that the Japanese Amano himself is coming to Tehran has raised the hopes of a breakthrough.
Another Vienna diplomat told AFP that the surprise announcement was a "hopeful" sign, while a third said they expected Amano to "conclude the negotiations on the modalities (of cooperation) and to have it formalized in a document.
Iran and the IAEA held two rounds of talks in Tehran in January and February this year.
But after their third round of talks in Vienna on May 14-15, both sides were more upbeat, raising hopes of a possible outcome when talks resume on Monday.
After this week's talks between Iran and the IAEA, diplomats said the two parties are making headway towards a framework deal on how to resolve outstanding issues of difference, a potential bargaining chip for Tehran in next week's negotiations with the world powers.
Iran's IAEA Envoy Ali Asqar Soltaniyeh had earlier reiterated that such an agreement is needed before it can consider a request by UN inspectors to visit the Parchin military site.
The UN nuclear watchdog and Iran were due to meet again in Vienna on May 21, two days before Tehran and the six global powers discuss Iran's nuclear program in Baghdad.
Speaking to AFP, Soltaniyeh gave no further details, saying only that this "is a visit for talking about issues of common interest, and of course about cooperation with the IAEA".
Western diplomats accredited to the UN agency told Reuters that Iran seemed keen to agree a so-called "structured approach" - an outline of how to address the IAEA's questions - ahead of Baghdad in the apparent hope of gaining leverage there.
They welcomed Iran's cooperation with the IAEA.
"There are still some outstanding issues but there is a possibility an agreement is reached on Monday," one Western diplomat said. It would be "a step forward on the process side," he said.
He said it would be a document on the scope and principles of how to pursue talks on Iran's nuclear program.