• Kyodo

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The U.S. government reiterated its concerns Tuesday over Iran’s nuclear program and an oil development project a Japanese consortium is pursuing in the country.

Issues centering on Iran topped the agenda at a preliminary consultation for Japan-U.S. working-level energy talks, Japanese government sources said. Washington suspects Iran’s nuclear facilities may be used to develop atomic weapons.

U.S. officials said Tehran needs to sign the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Additional Protocol to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which would open the way for stepped-up inspections of Iran’s nuclear sites, according to the officials.

Alan Larson, undersecretary of state for economic, business and agricultural affairs, was among the U.S. participants.

Iwao Okamoto, director general of the Natural Resources and Energy Agency, and other Japanese officials, referring to the project involving Iran’s massive Azadegan oil field, stressed the importance of pursuing oil development on Japan’s own initiative.