IAEA Head in Talks with Iran’s N. Chief

A033411015.jpgTEHRAN (FNA) The UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei arrived here in Tehran Friday for meetings with Vice President and head of the Atomic Energy Organization Gholam Reza Aghazadeh and other Iranian officials during his two-day sojourn in the Islamic Republic.

Mohamed ElBaradei, who heads the International Atomic Energy Agency, said he asked Iran for resolving the remaining issues during a series of talks which started last summer and has already led to the settlement of a large number of key issues.

“We discussed how we can work together to accelerate the pace of our cooperation to clarify all outstanding issues before my report in March,” ElBaradei told reporters Friday after meeting with Iran’s Vice President Gholam Reza Aghazadeh. ElBaradei characterized their talks as a “frank and open exchange of views.”

“I asked Mr. Aghazadeh to give us maximum transparency and provide assurances about all present nuclear activities about Iran,” ElBaradei said.

ElBaradei’s trip to Iran is crucial because it will be the basis for a report on Iran by the UN agency in March.

The talks also come at a time when West’s concerns over Iran’s program have mellowed in the wake of a crucially important report last month by 16 US intelligence bodies that concluded Iran is pursuing peaceful nuclear programs. In November, an IAEA report also stressed Tehran’s truthfulness about its past nuclear activities.

Aghazadeh insisted that Iran and the IAEA would have “comprehensive cooperation to fully resolve all outstanding issues” in hope that the country’s nuclear dossier would be returned from the UN Security Council back to the Vienna, Austria-based IAEA.

“In Iran, we believe Iran’s nuclear issue is within the capacity of the IAEA, and we hope that all past and present issues will be resolved by March and the Iranian nuclear issue will return to the IAEA,” said Aghazadeh, who also heads Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization.

On Saturday, ElBaradei is scheduled to meet Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, and Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei.

Aghazadeh said ElBaradei’s unprecedented meeting with the Supreme Leader would be crucial.

“It will be an extremely important exchange of information,” Aghazadeh said about ElBaradei’s meeting with Ayatollah Khamenei.

The Security Council has imposed two rounds of economic sanctions against Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment. Iran has only accessed the technical know-how for the low grade uranium enrichment which can merely be used as nuclear fuel.
Tehran has always stressed that it never worked on atomic weapons and wants to enrich uranium only to generate electricity. Meantime, Iran maintains it would never give up its right under the Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) to enrich uranium and produce nuclear fuel.

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