Iran hints it could consider wider nuclear inspections

GENEVA Wed Oct 16, 2013 8:07am EDT

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani takes questions from journalists during a news conference in New York September 27, 2013. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani takes questions from journalists during a news conference in New York September 27, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Adrees Latif

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GENEVA (Reuters) - Iran suggested it was ready to address calls to give the U.N. atomic watchdog wider inspection powers as part of Tehran's proposals to resolve a decade-old nuclear dispute with the West.

The comments from Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi appeared to be the first specific indication of what concessions Tehran might be prepared to make in return for the removal of sanctions hurting its oil-dependent economy.

Iran presented a three-phase plan for ending the standoff over its nuclear program during the first day of an October 15-16 meeting with six world powers in Geneva on Tuesday. The talks were due to resume later on Wednesday.

Iran did not give details of its proposal On Tuesday, but said it included monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Vienna-based U.N. nuclear body which regularly inspects declared Iranian facilities.

Iran's official IRNA news agency asked Araqchi about the issues of uranium enrichment and the so-called Additional Protocol to Iran's agreement with the IAEA.

"Neither of these issues are within the first step (of the Iranian proposal) but form part of our last steps," he replied without going into further details, in comments reported on Wednesday.

The Additional Protocol allows unannounced inspections outside of declared nuclear sites and it is seen as a vital tool at the IAEA's disposal to make sure that a country does not have any hidden nuclear work.

The world powers have long demanded that Iran implement the protocol. Iran says it is voluntary.

The powers - the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia - also want Iran to scale back its uranium enrichment program and suspend higher-level activity.

Refined uranium can be used to fuel nuclear power plants, Iran's stated aim, but can also provide the fissile core of a nuclear bomb if processed further, which the West fears may be Tehran's ultimate goal.

Western diplomats stress they want Tehran to back up its newly conciliatory language with concrete actions.

Both sides are trying to dampen expectations of any rapid breakthrough at the two-day meeting, the first to be held since President Hassan Rouhani took office, promising conciliation over confrontation in Iran's relations with the world.

(Reporting by Marcus George in Dubai; Writing by Fredrik Dahl in Geneva; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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ChangeIranNow wrote:
As a non-nuclear state party to the (NPT), Iran owes a legal duty to the international community to refrain from manufacturing and acquiring nuclear weapons. These obligations are interpreted by the NPT’s enforcement agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to also require states to provide credible assurance regarding non-diversion of nuclear material and the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities. Iran’s systematic violations of the NPT are well documented. Despite Iran’s insistence that its nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes, the evidence shows beyond a reasonable doubt that Iran’s nuclear work is not consistent with any other application than the development of a nuclear weapon. Iran continues to conceal its nuclear program and conduct enrichment-related activities, in violation of the NPT, the IAEA Safeguards Agreement, all subsequent IAEA Safeguards Resolutions, and numerous United Nations Security Council Resolutions. Iran, therefore, needs to be held accountable to the terms of the NPT and sanctions shouldn’t be lifted simply based on promises, but on concrete action.

Oct 16, 2013 10:15pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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