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Iran offers IAEA cooperation, but sets condition

Iran offers IAEA cooperation, but sets condition

Iran's foreign minister said Tuesday his country is ready to work more closely with the U.N. nuclear agency, but only if it cancels its investigation into allegations that Iran has secretly developed a nuclear weapons program.
The International Atomic Energy Agency did not immediately comment on minister Ali Akbar Salehi's offer, but the condition he set is one the IAEA is unlikely to accept.
The agency already has accused Iran of stalling the investigation and that has become the main source of international tension over Iran's nuclear program.
Salehi said that Iran is ready to work "closer than ever before" with U.N. nuclear agency, if it first ends the investigation.
He spoke after meeting with IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, who has been accused by Tehran of pro-U.S. bias in his pursuit of allegations that Tehran appears to have worked on secret experiments that appear to be components of a nuclear weapons program.
The agency says its investigation is part of a work plan agreed to by Iran four years ago and complains that it has been stonewalled for nearly three years.
Tehran, in turn, says the probe goes beyond the conditions set by the work plan. It argues that it has cooperated and answered all questions mandated by the plan. For years, it has demanded that the IAEA say so and declare its weapons-related investigation is closed.
Salehi on Tuesday suggested that his country is ready to discuss new terms _ but only if the agency agrees to terminate the probe, saying that Iran has fully cooperated and met its obligations to be open and forthcoming about its nuclear program.
Any new questions based on the allegations should be pursued "within the framework of a new mechanism ... based on the fact that the IAEA should say the first stage is over and those outstanding issues have been answered," he said.
Iran insists its activities are peaceful and meant only to produce nuclear fuel for a future network of reactors. But its uranium enrichment program can create fissile warhead material.
It has refused to cease enrichment, despite four sets of U.N. Security Council sanctions, and has recently conducted missile tests that the West says appear to be part of a developing nuclear weapons delivery system.
Describing his talks with Amano as "very positive," Salehi said "both sides have promised that their experts will sit together and think of a new mechanism of doing our work."


Updated : 2021-03-08 00:23 GMT+08:00