Iran, IAEA Resume Talks

A03314612.jpgTEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iran and a team from the UN nuclear watchdog started a fresh round of talks on Monday in Tehran to remove remaining ambiguities about Tehran’s nuclear programs.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) delegation arrived in Iran’s capital on Sunday, less than a week after a US intelligence report said Iran is pursuing a peaceful nuclear program.

The report compiled on the basis of the findings and analyses of 16 US intelligence agencies is viewed as a source of deep shame and discredit for President George W. Bush as it contradicted Washington’s assertions that Tehran was actively working on a nuclear bomb.

The nuclear negotiations started on Monday morning and will last three days.

Iran’s envoy to the IAEA Ali Asqar Soltanieh told FNA on Sunday that according to the action plan, the two sides are to discuss origins of uranium traces in an Iranian site.

He also said that the three-day meeting would be chaired by IAEA executive director for safeguards.

Iran and the IAEA agreed in August on a plan of action that aims to remove all technical ambiguities by the IAEA over Iran’s nuclear projects and at the same time prepare the ground for political talks between Jalili and European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

The talks between Iran and the IAEA followed a groundbreaking agreement gained during a June meeting between Iran’s former nuclear negotiator and Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary Ali Larijani and IAEA Director General Mohammad ElBaradei in Vienna.

According to Iran-IAEA agreement, the UN nuclear watchdog raises all its questions on the basis of a premeditated schedule, and Iran should provide the required answers according to the same time-table.

Once they are through with the aforementioned action plan, the two sides have agreed to find a proper way to resolve the differences about the implementation of the nuclear safeguards in Iran.

The two sides have already attended several rounds of talks which both have described as “constructive”.

In previous meetings, the Iranian delegation was headed by the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Undersecretary Javad Vaeedi, while the IAEA team was presided by the IAEA deputy Director General Ollie Heinonen.

The talks are considered as a further step by Iran to build more confidence after it explained in written about the origin of uranium traces on its centrifuges in summer.

Vaeedi earlier said that Iran had replied to all outstanding IAEA questions and that there would be no more technical talks until the IAEA Board of Governors met on November 22.

Following the two sides’ previous rounds of talks, IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei presented a report to the Board of Governors, where he praised Iran’s cooperation and described Tehran as truthful about key aspects of its past nuclear activities.

The action plan has vexed the US by allowing Iran to answer questions one by one according to a timeline while leaving untouched its uranium-enrichment program.

It has also wrong-footed a US-led push to rein in Iran by eroding European support for, and stiffening Russian resistance to, tougher UN sanctions. Iran won the reprieve by threatening to cut off relations with the IAEA if pressure intensifies.

Talks between Iran and the IAEA are continued under such conditions that France has voiced strong support for the US efforts to impose a third set of sanctions on Iran.

Iran has vowed to carry on its uranium enrichment, insisting its program is peaceful and geared solely toward producing electricity. The United States and key Western allies accuse Tehran of covertly trying to build a nuclear weapon, but they have never presented any corroborative evidence to substantiate their allegations. Tehran denies the charges vehemently.

The UN Security Council has already imposed two sets of sanctions on Iran, mostly economic.

Iran has rejected both resolutions as illegal, saying it won’t give up its Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) right to enrich uranium and produce nuclear fuel.

In mid-September, the six countries involved in talks to persuade Iran to drop uranium enrichment delayed a vote on a new set of sanctions against the Islamic Republic until November. The vote was postponed pending reports from the IAEA director general and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

Tehran’s nuclear issue has grown even more complicated after the US National Intelligence Estimate last week approved the findings of ElBaradei’s report, stressing that Iran is pursuing a peaceful nuclear program.

The report, compiled and presented by Iran’s arch foe the United States, has provided a further vindication of the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programs, but US President George W. Bush still goes on with his previous allegations that Iran is a threat.

Yet, following the reports by the IAEA and US National Intelligence Estimate, the world has opened a wide, impartial eye to Iran’s nuclear issue, and many believe that the case would soon be returned to the UN nuclear watchdog agency as friends and enemies all believe that Iran’s nuclear program does not at all pose a threat to world security and stability.

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