Middle East

Iran pledges to expand cooperation with IAEA

New atomic chief sees "conducive environment" as his country prepares to begin talks in Vienna with nuclear watchdog.

Last updated: 17 Sep 2013 15:06
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Salehi has credited President Rouhani's election with creation of a 'conducive environment' EPA]

Iran's new atomic energy chief has pledged increased cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), less than two weeks before the two sides hold a new round of talks over the country's disputed nuclear activities.

Speaking at the UN nuclear watchdog's headquarters in Vienna, Austria, on Monday, Ali Akbar Salehi said the election in June of a new government under President Hassan Rouhani had created a "conducive environment" to resolving the long-running standoff.

"I have come here with a message of my newly elected president to further enhance and expand our ongoing cooperation with the agency," he said.

He said Iran was "optimistic about the outcome of the forthcoming five-plus-one meeting should the two parties join the meeting with good intentions and with the resolve of solving the aforementioned issues based on a win-win approach", referring to upcoming talks with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.

The IAEA and Iran are due to meet on September 27 in Vienna, with the UN agency hoping for an agreement that would allow it to restart an investigation into suspected atom-bomb research by Iran, which denies the charge.

Increased hopes

The Security Council has passed six resolutions since 2006 calling on Iran to suspend key parts of its nuclear programme, and 10 rounds of talks since early 2012 between Iran and the IAEA failed to yield results.

But the election in June of Rouhani, considered a moderate, has increased hopes of progress towards a diplomatic solution to the long-running crisis, which has seen a decade of false starts.

In a meeting last Friday with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Kyrgyzstan's capital Bishkek, Rouhani said Iran wanted "the swiftest solution to [the nuclear issue] within international norms".

But he made clear earlier that he was only ready to go so far, indicating Iran would not give up its right to enrich uranium.

"I declare that only if there is political will, if there is mutual respect and mutual interest, and only if the rights of Iran's people are ensured, can we guarantee the peaceful character of Iran's nuclear programme," Rouhani said.


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