The U.N. nuclear watchdog leader said his agency and Iran must now address "more difficult," military-related concerns, Agence France-Presse reports.
"We started with measures that are practical and easy to implement, and then we move on to more difficult things," International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano told AFP, describing progress in an ongoing IAEA investigation of Iran's atomic efforts under an agreement reached with Tehran late last year.
"We certainly wish to include issues with 'possible military dimensions' in future steps," the IAEA chief added, referring to indications that Iran at one time might have pursued research that could inform a nuclear-weapons program, should the Middle Eastern nation ever decide to pursue one.
"We have already discussed it and will continue to discuss it at the next meeting," scheduled for Feb. 8, Amano said in comments reported on Friday. Speaking last week, the official said he wanted to unveil the investigation's next steps in March.
The probe's length "very much depends on Iran," the IAEA chief said. "It can be quick or it can be long. It really depends on their cooperation."
Amano added that a nuclear deal reached in November by Iran and six major powers "could not have [been] foreseen ... six months ago." The Persian Gulf power agreed to adopt limits on its nuclear activities for half a year in return for relief from selected international sanctions.
The European Union on Friday challenged a Russian assertion that plans had been finalized for a new round of talks next month between Tehran and the permanent five members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, Reuters reported.
The United States and other countries hope further dialogue between the sides will result in a long-term pact to assuage international concerns that Iran's atomic program could have nuclear-bomb applications. The Middle Eastern nation insists the effort is entirely peaceful.
This article was published in Global Security Newswire, which is produced independently by National Journal Group under contract with the Nuclear Threat Initiative. NTI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group working to reduce global threats from nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.