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IAEA head calls for more dialogue on Iran nuclear issue
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UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohammed ElBaradei on Thursday called for more dialogue between the international community and Iran on the country's nuclear issue.

ElBaradei, general secretary of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), made the call after a meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin on Thursday.

ElBaradei said Iran's progress in developing uranium enrichment is slow and recent additions to its nuclear fuel production complex have only been older-model centrifuges.

The UN nuclear watchdog is well informed on the current situation in Iran, he said.

He noted that Tehran's enrichment program was based on the first-generation centrifuges of the P1 type, although research was underway into developing more sophisticated centrifuges.

"I think they had 3,000 centrifuges in the past and now they have 3,300 or 3,400 so they are not moving very fast," ElBaradei said to a briefing after the meeting.

"I continue to call on Iran not to speed the process because we first need to have an agreement before Iran moves forward with its enrichment program," he added.

Speaking to the press, Steinmeier said work was underway on a new dialogue proposal but it was not certain whether Tehran would accept an offer.

(Xinhua News Agency April 18, 2008)

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