(NEW YORK) -- With Iran's new president sending mixed messages about how his country will deal with nuclear negotiations, the U.S. has issued a message expressing hope that a diplomatic solution can be reached amid "troubling developments" in Iran's nuclear program. Hassan Rouhani came to power as a conservative-moderate but earlier this week he seemed to suggest that Iran would not relent in its efforts to advance its nuclear ambitions that the West alleges is aimed at building atomic weapons.
U.S. Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency Joseph Macmanus said Wednesday that Iran continues to expand its uranium enrichment capacity, a key step to making nuclear weapons, as well as constructing a reactor capable of yielding plutonium for bombs.
Macmanus called both developments "troubling."
Nonetheless, the ambassador told the IAEA board, "We are hopeful that the Rouhani administration will live up to its assurances of transparency and cooperation by taking concrete steps over the next several months" to defuse the standoff over its nuclear program.
Iran's negotiators have talks scheduled with IAEA officials, a possible prelude to resuming discussions with the so-called P5+1, consisting of the five permanent United Nations Security Council members and Germany.
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