U.N. atomic watchdog chief Yukiya Amano welcomed Iran’s compliance with measures to lift suspicions about its nuclear programme on Monday, but cautioned that some doubt remained.

He also appealed for patience ahead of a July 20 deadline for a deal between Western powers and Iran, as the IAEA analyses data that Iran may have sought a nuclear bomb.

In a report last month, Mr. Amano revealed that Iran had so far stuck by its agreements with the IAEA and implemented all recently agreed measures, even addressing matters related to bomb-making for the first time in six years.

The so-called “possible military dimensions” (PMDs) of Iran’s nuclear programme — including the use of detonators — have long been of concern to the international community, although Iran insists the aims of its programme are purely peaceful.

“Iran has engaged with the agency substantively, including in the clarification of issues related to the use of exploding bridge wire detonators,” Mr. Amano told IAEA member states on Monday.

This “has helped us to gain a better understanding of its nuclear programme,” he added.

Tehran’s further agreement in May to implement five new practical measures “is a further welcome step forward,” he also said.

Iran and western powers — the so-called P5+1, including the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany — are striving to draft a potentially historic nuclear deal by July 20.

Several rounds of talks have already been held in Vienna but the latest in mid-May ended with no apparent progress on a deal.

A next round — held separately from Iran’s meetings with the IAEA — is planned for June 16-20 in Vienna.

While welcoming Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA, Mr. Amano also pointed to some lingering concern over its nuclear drive, including activities at the Parchin military base — observed via satellite — where Iran is suspected of conducting research for a nuclear payload.

— AFP

‘Iran has engaged substantively, including in the clarification about the use of wire detonators’