Iran Lauds Talks with UN Watchdog

A036180713.jpgTEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iran said Thursday that talks with the UN nuclear watchdog on investigating traces of uranium found at a Tehran university were constructive.

Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Tehran’s envoy to the UN agency, said Iran “answered and explained” all questions from the International Atomic Energy Agency.

“Technical talks about the source of contamination were held in a constructive atmosphere,” Soltanieh said. “Another step was taken in the direction of settling the remaining problems surrounding Iran’s nuclear issue.”

He provided no details but said more talks could follow after IAEA reviews the case.

The talks with the IAEA team, which began Monday in the Iranian capital, focused on the discovery of traces of uranium at a technological faculty of a Tehran university. It’s believed this was the first time the incident was discussed.

It is not clear how or when the find of the uranium traces was made.

The university contamination case comes in the wake of a US intelligence report last week that concluded Iran is pursuing a peaceful nuclear program.

The United States and some of its allies accuse Iran of seeking to build nuclear weapons but Tehran has denied the charges, saying the uranium enrichment is only geared toward generating electricity, not a nuclear bomb.

The US is pushing for a new, third round of U.N. sanctions over Tehran’s refusal to stop enrichment. Iran maintains it would never give up its right under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to enrich uranium and produce nuclear fuel.

UN diplomats said Wednesday the Security Council will not take up new sanctions against Iran until early next year because of serious differences between the US and Russia and China.

The delay in the council’s consideration of a third sanctions resolution followed a 90-minute telephone discussion Tuesday of political directors from the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany that highlighted the divide among the key players.

“I think it unlikely, unfortunately, that we will be able to make progress during 2007,” Britain’s UN Ambassador John Sauers told reporters. “We will come back to this issue in 2008.”

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