IAEA chief Yukiya Amano met Iran's nuclear chief and top negotiator on Monday in a visit to Tehran closely watched for signs as to how wider talks between Iran and world powers might unfurl on Wednesday.
He sat down separately with Saeed Jalili, Iran's national security chief tasked with negotiating nuclear issues, and atomic energy head Abbasi Davani in an effort to press for greater cooperation between Iran and the U.N. nuclear surveillance agency.
Mr. Amano said before arriving in Iran that he aimed to build on “good progress” made last week between lower-ranking officials from both sides at the International Atomic Energy Agency's headquarters.
Abbasi Davani's Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation issued a statement after the first meeting saying issues were raised “in a frank manner and proposals were made to remove ambiguities and to develop cooperation”. It did not elaborate.
Mr. Amano made no immediate comment. After his meeting with Mr. Jalili, he was to hold discussions with Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi.
The outcome of his visit was to be weighed as an indication of how willing Iran is to allay international suspicions it has conducted nuclear weapons research.
Those questions were to be raised on Wednesday in Baghdad talks between representatives of Iran and of the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — plus Germany, the so-called P5+1.
The very fact Mr. Amano himself was in Tehran on Monday — on his first trip to Iran since taking the helm of the IAEA — raised speculation that the Islamic republic could grant the IAEA access to a key military installation, Parchin, outside Tehran, for the first time in seven years.
But Mr. Amano, while avoiding giving any details of what he was to discuss, stated on leaving Vienna that “nothing is certain”.
He said that, while he was “positive” going into the talks, “this visit is very short, and I'm not an inspector”.