Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency appeared to gain little traction last week in clearing the way for a stalled nuclear probe, despite positive statements by participants, envoys told Reuters on Wednesday.
Last Friday's meeting was the 11th between Iran and the IAEA since early last year to consider potential ground rules for the U.N. nuclear watchdog to look into intelligence findings that the Middle Eastern nation once may have engaged scientific activities relevant to atomic-arms development. The alleged work could include nuclear-relevant explosives tests, as well as work on a nuclear-bomb trigger at its Parchin military base.
Iranian delegates to last week's Iran-IAEA talks -- the first held under Iranian President Hassan Rouhani -- said Tehran hopes to break significant ground on the matter in a matter of months, according to an informed diplomat. However, previous hints at forward movement ultimately led nowhere, multiple envoys said.
Iran and the U.N. organization are next slated to meet on Oct. 28, following two days of separate atomic discussions between Tehran and six major governments. The five permanent U.N. Security Council member nations and Germany for years have sought more concrete assurances that Iran's nuclear program is not supporting development of a weapon capability.
A Senate panel is not expected to consider a House-passed Iran sanctions bill for several more weeks, at least, possibly placing any debate on the legislation after Iran's scheduled meeting with the "P-5+1" nations, Reuters reported separately on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Iran's lawmakers broadly backed Rouhani's nuclear-related outreach at the U.N. General Assembly last week, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing state media.