World 'losing patience' with Iran nuclear plan

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The international community is losing patience with Iran over its nuclear programme, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said yesterday.

"They are inching forward and I'm asking them to leap forward," Mohamed ElBaradei, who is in Oslo to receive the Nobel Peace Prize today, added.

He said he hoped outstanding nuclear issues with the country will be clarified by the time he presents his next report on Iran in March, because "the international community is losing patience".

"The ball is in Iran's court," Mr ElBaradei said. He encouraged European negotiators to continue talks with Iran.

"The parties need to sit together, discuss their grievances and reach a solution," he said. "If we can do that without escalating the problem, all the better."

No date has been set to resume the talks with Britain, France and Germany, which broke off in August after Iran restarted uranium conversion.

The IAEA and much of the world community have been pushing Iran's religious leaders to allow closer inspection of the nuclear programme they claim is intended only for energy.

Mr ElBaradei and the IAEA, which he shares the prize with, were cited by the Nobel committee for their drive to curb the spread of nuclear weapons.