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Iranian official cancels talks on nuclear activity

Published June 12, 2007


VIENNA - A senior Iranian envoy canceled talks Monday with the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, dashing hopes that Iran is ready to end its secrecy about past nuclear activities that could be part of a weapons program.

Diplomats familiar with the issue said the change in plans was dictated by hard-liners associated with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and opposed to concessions in the nuclear dispute that has led to two sets of U.N. sanctions.

The meeting, between Javeed Vaidi and IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei, had been billed as a test of Iran's readiness to end years of stonewalling on past suspicious nuclear activities.

But the talks were canceled because of perceptions that Vaidi would bring "nothing substantial" to that meeting, a diplomat told the Associated Press.

Another diplomat said the Iranians pulled out on orders of the camp linked to Ahmadinejad. The diplomat, who demanded anonymity because his information was confidential, said Vaidi apparently had been prepared to offer concrete proposals to ElBaradei and his aides before being told to opt out.

Ahmadinejad has been outspoken on Iran's right to enrich uranium for power generation.

An IAEA report two weeks ago provided the potential trigger for new U.N. sanctions, saying Iran continued to defy the Security Council.

[Last modified June 12, 2007, 02:07:11]

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