International Atomic Energy Agency deputy head Olli Heinonen said talks with Iran on Thursday over its nuclear drive were “constructive” and that some “important steps” were made.“We had constructive discussions and made some important steps and we will continue discussions in coming weeks,” Heinonen told reporters at the end of three rounds of talks with Iranian nuclear officials.
“The atmosphere was very good,” he added, after a meeting between the IAEA delegation, including legal, political and technical officials, and Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Undersecretary Javad Vaeedi.
“We immediately agreed on four or five steps. We’ll continue on present issues in the next weeks and we look forward to progress,” Heinonen said.
“Iran did some things in the past where we were not present and we have to reconstruct this history,” he added.
“If the cooperation continues like this we hope that the problems will be solved, not now but in a reasonable future.”
Vaeedi, for his part, labeled Thursday’s meeting as “serious and good.”
“We discussed methods to regulate the outstanding problems with the agency, and made good progress,” he told a joint press conference with Heinonen.
“We divided the matters into two parts, the current and the past problems. We reached agreement on certain points, we agreed on some modalities for our cooperation and our work with the IAEA,” he added.
He also hoped to be able to “solve the remaining questions in a timeframe which is convenient to both parties.”
IAEA’s chief Mohamed ElBaradei has said that “drawing up a plan of action” should take 60 days. Implementation would then begin on resolving questions about Iranian nuclear activities.
Two sets of UN sanctions have already been imposed against Iran over its failure to freeze uranium enrichment, but President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stressed on Wednesday that Tehran would never give up its “right” to nuclear technology.
“The trend of installing centrifuges could be slowed down or gain momentum, this is an executive issue, but no-one should expect that we will give up our rights, and we will not halt the trend,” Ahmadinejad said.
The deputy head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Saeedi, said another round of talks between Iranian and IAEA officials was in the offing.
“No date but very near future,” he told reporters.
He also said that the IAEA delegation had met on Wednesday with the national security chief and Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani, but he did not elaborate on the talks.
On Monday, ElBaradei had said that Iran has slowed the expansion of its uranium enrichment work.
“We have seen a fairly slow development in commissioning new cascades,” he said, referring to the installation of centrifuges which enrich uranium into fuel for civilian reactors.
Since February 2006 when Iran’s nuclear case was referred to the UN Security Council under intense pressures by the United States, the UNSC has adopted three resolutions demanding that Iran suspend enrichment, and has imposed two sets of sanctions.