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Officials walk out of IAEA talks after Iranian cites Israeli ‘genocide’

WASHINGTON (JTA) — U.S., Canadian and Australian officials walked out of a meeting of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency when the Iranian envoy accused Israel of genocide.

Joseph Macmanus, the U.S. ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, stormed out of the meeting in Vienna on Wednesday after Ali Asghar Soltaneh made the accusation, Reuters reported, as did Canadian and Australian officials.

Macmanus earlier had accused Iran of "deception, defiance and delay" in its dealing with the agency.

The meeting Wednesday comes weeks ahead of a renewed effort at talks in Istanbul by major powers, led by the United States, to negotiate terms with Iran to make its nuclear program more transparent. Western powers and Israel believe Iran is close to being able to manufacture a nuclear weapon. Iran denies this, and Soltaneh repeated these denials on Wednesday, calling the accusations "baseless."

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