The head of the UN atomic watchdog said Sunday he hoped the agency would still reach a deal with Tehran on probing alleged efforts to build nuclear weapons despite the lack of progress in talks between Iran and world powers in Geneva.
International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano said as he left for talks in Tehran that the negotiations between Iran and six world powers that ended in Geneva Sunday without a deal were "different, independent and separate" to those with the UN body.
"Iran presented a new proposal (to the IAEA) last month that includes practical measures to strengthen cooperation and dialogue, and we hope to build on it," Amano told reporters at Vienna airport.
"I hope the coming meeting will produce concrete results," he said. "We are coming to a very important point."
The IAEA conducts regular inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities but for two years has been fruitlessly pressing Tehran to answer allegations that it was trying before 2003, and maybe since, to develop a nuclear weapon.
Iran's parallel talks with the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany, known as the P5+1, are focused more on Tehran's current activities, in particular uranium enrichment.
Three gruelling days of P5+1 talks ended with no agreement but the two sides will meet again on 20 November.
The two diplomatic "tracks" are closely related, however, since world powers want Iran to answer the IAEA's questions in order to ease fears about its nuclear programme.
The six countries also want Tehran, which denies it is seeking to build nuclear weapons, to submit to more intrusive inspections by the watchdog as part of a wider accord.
The IAEA would also be closely involved in monitoring any freeze in enrichment activities and Iran sending its stockpiles of nuclear material to a third country.
Tehran has so far resisted IAEA requests to visit sites where the alleged activities took place as well as to consult documents and speak to Iranian scientists.
Iran's new envoy to the IAEA, Reza Najafi, said on Saturday he was more optimistic about the chances of signing a deal during Amano's trip, his first since May 2012.
"We foresee that the text will be finalised on Monday and that the two sides will reach agreement," Najafi told state television.