IAEA chief calls for direct US-Iran talks without preconditions

Iran says its nuclear activities are for peaceful ends and that it complies with international nuclear rules.

IAEA chief calls for direct US-Iran talks without preconditions

Direct talks without preconditions between the United States and Iran are the only solution to the conflict over Tehran's nuclear program, the U.N. nuclear agency's head was quoted as saying on Saturday.

New sanctions against Iran would only aggravate the dispute rather than push it to give in to international demands, Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told Austrian daily Die Presse.

"Of course you can impose further sanctions. But I consider it rather unlikely that new sanctions will make Iran come around," ElBaradei said in an interview to be published on Sunday.

"President Barack Obama has understood that talks with Iran are the only possible solution," he said. "If you want to make progress, you have to start talks without preconditions."

ElBaradei said he was optimistic that follow-up talks in Vienna next week to finalise an agreement with Iran on processing its uranium abroad could open the door to broader talks about Iran's nuclear program.

"With this first step to build trust we could make an important contribution to defuse the crisis," he said.

Iran says its nuclear activities are for peaceful ends and that it complies with international nuclear rules.

Western diplomats say Iran agreed in principle at Oct. 1 talks in Geneva to send about 80 percent of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium to Russia and France for processing and return to Tehran to replenish dwindling fuel stocks for a reactor in the capital that produces isotopes for cancer care.

Under the proposal to be discussed in Vienna, Iran would send uranium enriched to a level of 3.5 percent abroad and receive 20 percent refined uranium in return as fuel for the Tehran reactor.

For Iran, which says its nuclear programme is for peaceful power generation, it would preserve medical isotope production.

Iran also agreed at the Geneva meeting to give U.N. experts access to a newly-disclosed uranium enrichment plant under construction near the city of Qom.

The Islamic state has not bowed the pressure to halt its nuclear work, despite three rounds of U.N. sanctions since 2006.


Agencies

Last Mod: 18 Ekim 2009, 12:35
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