The U.N. nuclear agency said on Sunday that Iran had agreed to start addressing suspicions that it may have worked on designing an atomic weapon, a potential breakthrough in a long-stalled investigation into Tehran’s atomic activities.
The development – although limited for now – marked a step forward in an international push to settle a decade-old dispute over Iran’s nuclear program. Tehran says this is peaceful, while the West fears that Iran wants to develop atomic arms.
The deal could also send a positive signal to separate, high-stakes negotiations between Iran and six world powers which are due to start on February 18 in Vienna, aimed at reaching a broader diplomatic settlement with the Islamic state.
Efforts to end years of hostile rhetoric and confrontation that could otherwise trigger a new war in the Middle East gained momentum with last year’s election of a relative moderate, Hassan Rouhani, as new Iranian president on a platform to ease Iran’s international isolation.
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