Iran Reiterates Return of N. Case to IAEA

A033411028.jpgTEHRAN (FNA) The return of the Iranian nuclear dossier to the UN nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, would be a major step towards settling the dispute, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said.

“The Iranian nuclear dossier should be returned from the United Nations Security Council to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and be dealt with within a normal course,” Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini said in his weekly press conference here on Sunday.

“In that case Iran would also be ready to boost its cooperation with the IAEA,” the spokesman added.

High-ranking Iranian officials had told Mohamed ElBaradei during the IAEA head’s visit to Tehran that there was no legal justification for the Iranian nuclear case remaining at the UN Security Council and should therefore be returned to the IAEA as the only internationally acknowledged source to deal with the dossier.

Spokesman Hosseini said that Iran would be ready to talk to other states over the nuclear dispute as well but insisted that the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) should be the main basis for any talks.

According to the NPT, Iran is as a signatory entitled to pursue civilian nuclear technology, including uranium enrichment.

The US-led West has demanded Tehran to give up its NPT right of enrichment or face a third UN resolution and financial sanctions.

Tehran has so far rejected this demand.

Iran is under two sets of UN Security Council sanctions for its refusal to freeze uranium enrichment even after the peaceful nature of its nuclear programs and activities was proved.

Washington is pushing for additional UN penalties despite a recent report by 16 US intelligence bodies that endorsed the civilian nature of Iran’s programs. Following the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and a similar report by the IAEA head in November which praised Iran’s truthfulness about key aspects of its past nuclear activities, Russia and China increased resistance to any further punitive measures by the Security Council.

Tehran says it never worked on atomic weapons and wants to enrich uranium only to produce fuel for reactors that would generate electricity, a claimed substantiated by the NIE and IAEA report.

Bush’s attempt to rally international pressure against Iran’s nuclear program has been complicated by the US intelligence.

Not only many Iranian officials, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but also many other world nations have called the UN Security Council pressure unjustified, especially in the wake of recent IAEA reports saying Iran had increased cooperation with the agency.

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