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Iran holds talks with IAEA chief

Vienna, April 25, 2010

Iran's foreign minister met the head of the UN atomic watchdog on Sunday to discuss a stalled nuclear fuel proposal that could help ease Tehran's dispute with the West as well as atomic inspections in the Islamic Republic.

"The meeting was held in a business-like atmosphere," the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement.

Iran's Manouchehr Mottaki and IAEA's Yukiya Amano discussed the fuel proposal and exchanged views on possible ways to implement it, the IAEA said. It gave no details on whether a conclusion had been reached.

In October Iran agreed in principle to send low-enriched uranium abroad for more processing, but then said the swap should take place inside its territory and simultaneously.   

These are conditions which the other parties in the IAEA-backed deal -- France, the United States and Russia -- have said they cannot accept because the deal in this form would fail to build confidence.

The West believes Iran's nuclear programme is ultimately aimed at making weapons. Tehran says it is for peaceful uses only.   

In October Iran agreed in principle to send low-enriched uranium abroad for more processing, but then said the swap should take place inside its territory and simultaneously.   

Mottaki told Iranian state television before his meeting that the talks would be "decisive and detailed".   

"The IAEA...can play a more constructive role," Mottaki said in his earlier comments. "We believe the fuel swap can create multilateral trust."    

Washington's envoy to the IAEA said he welcomed the meeting. "(This is) a good opportunity for the IAEA to express its concerns to Iran directly," Glyn Davies said.

Washington is seeking support from fellow U.N. Security Council veto holders Russia and China for a fourth round of sanctions on Tehran.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke by telephone at the initiative of the US side on Saturday, Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"The ministers held a detailed discussion of the current situation around Iran's nuclear programme, having stated that further steps towards its settlement should be taken on the basis of consensus, taking into account the opinions of all members of the 'six'," it said. It gave no further details.   

Iran's Mottaki is also visiting Vienna and other capitals to lobby Security Council members to oppose any new UN sanctions. Austria is on the council until the end of this year. - Reuters




Tags: Iran | Nuclear | atomic | IAEA |

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