US welcomes `good steps` by Iran on nuclear drive

The United States today welcomed Iran`s recent efforts to alleviate concerns about its nuclear programme, but urged it to increase the pace of cooperation.

AFP| Last Updated: Jun 04, 2014, 18:50 PM IST

Vienna: The United States today welcomed Iran`s recent efforts to alleviate concerns about its nuclear programme, but urged it to increase the pace of cooperation.

A recent report by the UN atomic watchdog IAEA found Iran was sticking to its agreements with the agency and implementing all newly agreed measures, even addressing matters related to bomb-making for the first time in six years.

"You can`t see steps taking place and say it`s not sufficient, those are good steps," the US delegate to the IAEA, Ambassador Joseph Macmanus, told journalists today on the sidelines of an IAEA board of governors meeting.

"This is a long stairway to climb and each step is progress."

Addressing member states earlier, Macmanus however highlighted that Iran`s engagement was "long overdue," according to a copy of his address.

"It is only a first step," he said of Iran`s compliance with recent agreements, urging "accelerated progress" and "full cooperation" on other issues, including the scaling-down of uranium enrichment and sharing of information on weapons-related issues.

Western powers fear Iran may be seeking a nuclear bomb under the cover of its civilian programme, but Tehran insists its intentions are solely peaceful.

Talks between Iran and six world powers are aiming for a potentially historic nuclear deal by July 20 -- a deadline that commentators have increasingly said will not be reached.

Macmanus however insisted that the parties were sticking to their ambitious goal.

"That`s what we`re still focused on," he said.

The last so-called P5+1 rounds of talks in mid-May -- between the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany on one side, and Iran on the other -- ended with no apparent progress on a deal.

A next round is planned for June 16-20 in Vienna.