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International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano waves as he arrives for a board of governors meeting at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna June 4, 2014. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader


VIENNA (Reuters) - U.N. nuclear watchdog chief Yukiya Amano will visit Iran on Sunday to try to advance cooperation with the agency's long-running inquiry into Tehran's nuclear activities, the IAEA said on Friday.

He will visit ahead of an Aug. 25 deadline for Iran to provide information relevant to the International Atomic Energy Agency's investigation into suspicions that Iran may have researched how to build a nuclear bomb, an accusation it denies.

"The Director General of the IAEA ... will visit Iran for meetings on Aug. 17 with Iranian leaders and senior officials. The visit is part of the efforts to advance dialogue and cooperation between the Agency and Iran," a brief IAEA statement said.

Diplomatic sources told Reuters two weeks ago that the Vienna-based IAEA was concerned about Iran's failure to make good on pledges of more transparency.

Western officials say Iranian clarifications would also advance efforts by six world powers to negotiate an end to a decade-old standoff over the Islamic Republic's nuclear programme, suggesting some sanctions relief may depend on it.

The Islamic Republic says it is enriching uranium solely as a peaceful project to generate electricity, not to accumulate fissile material for a potential atomic bomb, as the West suspects.

It rejects such suspicions as based on false and fabricated information from its enemies but has promised, since pragmatist Hassan Rouhani became president in mid-2013, to work with the Vienna-based U.N. agency to clear them up.

(Reporting by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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