Iran takes a week to reply to IAEA as Russia, France accept UN deal

Russia and France accepted the proposals by the IAEA on a third-party uranium enrichment deal with Iran as the Islamic Republic delayed to reply to U.N..

Iran takes a week to reply to IAEA as Russia, France accept UN deal

World Bulletin / News Desk

Russia and France on Friday accepted the proposals by the International Atomic Energy Agency on a third-party uranium enrichment deal with Iran as the Islamic Republic delayed to reply UN-drafted deal.

"We agree with these proposals and we are counting on not only Iran, but all the other participants of the negotiations, to confirm their readiness to implement the proposed scheme," Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov told reporters.

Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's permanent envoy to the U.N. nuclear agency, told Iran's state Press TV that Iran is "working and elaborating on all the details of this proposal" and that he would inform the International Atomic Energy Agency "next week about our evaluation."

The U.N. nuclear watchdog on Wednesday presented a draft deal to Iran and three world powers for approval within two days to reduce Tehran's stockpile of low-enriched uranium.

A member of Iran's negotiating team, who attended the talks in Vienna earlier this week, said today that Tehran was awaiting a "positive and constructive" response from the world powers, reports Reuters.

"The other party is expected to avoid past mistakes in violating agreements … and to gain Iran's trust," the unnamed official said.

French Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Bernard Valero, told reporter in Paris: "The draft agreement suits France. We have made this known in an official manner."

Iran has so far declined to say if it would endorse the plan, which Western diplomats said would require Tehran to send 1.2 tons of its known 1.5-tonne reserve of low-enriched uranium (LEU) to Russia and France by the end of the year.

Iran's reply

Iranian officials said they would give an answer only next week to the U.N.-drafted deal, which has been accepted by the other parties -- Russia, France and the United States.

However, Soltanieh's comments came just hours after Iran's state TV quoted an unnamed source close to the Iranian nuclear negotiating team as saying Iran wants to buy nuclear fuel it needs for a research reactor, rather than accept the U.N. proposed plan.

The official said Tehran has its own proposal on purchasing nuclear fuel and would wait for a response from the world powers.

They also said Tehran preferred to acquire enriched uranium abroad rather than send out its own for processing into fuel for nuclear medicine, as Western powers said it tentatively agreed to at Geneva talks on Oct. 1

The material would be converted into fuel for a nuclear medicine facility in Tehran.

The U.N. nuclear agency said it had been told by Iran that it was considering the proposal "in depth and in a favourable light", but needed until the middle of next week to take a position -- flouting the IAEA's Friday deadline for responses.

It said International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed ElBaradei hoped Iran's reply "will equally be positive, since approval of this agreement will signal a new era of cooperation" after seven years of standoff.

It would also gain time for broader talks on world powers' ultimate goal: that Iran allay fears that it has a secret nuclear weapons programme by curbing enrichment, in return for trade and technology benefits.

The IAEA did not say why Iran required more time to decide.

Last Mod: 24 Ekim 2009, 10:13
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