Iran is ready to cooperate “further” with the UN atomic energy watchdog if it “balances its approach” to the Islamic republic, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said on Sunday, according to the ISNA news agency.
“We are prepared to cooperate with the agency more than ever, if the (UN) agency balances its approach and complies with its statutes and the safeguard agreements,” Salehi was quoted as saying.
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“If that is the case, we are prepared to cooperate much the same as before and even further with the agency,” he said.
The conditional offer was made after a vote Friday by the board of the UN watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, calling for more cooperation from Iran on its nuclear program.
The vote followed a November 8 IAEA report that strongly suggested Iran — despite its repeated denials — was researching nuclear weapons under cover of its civilian atomic activities.
The IAEA resolution — worded to pass muster with Iran’s allies Russia and China — notably stopped short of sending the matter to the UN Security Council.
Instead, it said it was “essential for Iran and the Agency to intensify their dialogue” and called on Tehran “to comply fully and without delay with its obligations under relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council.”
It gave no deadline for those demands to be met, but said IAEA head Yukiya Amano would report to the board in March on Tehran’s implementation of the resolution.
Amano said last Thursday he had proposed sending a high-level team to Iran to “clarify the issues” in the IAEA report, and asked Tehran “to engage substantively with the agency without delay.”
The UN Security Council has already imposed four sets of sanctions on Iran to pressure it to halt its nuclear activities.
Iran’s deputy chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Bagheri, said, according to the website of Iran’s state television, that Washington had “failed” in a bid to again have the IAEA refer Iran’s nuclear program to the Security Council.
Iran’s representative at the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, was quoted by the ISNA news agency Saturday as saying Iran had already invited IAEA officials to visit to discuss questions raised in the report.
“The director general’s announcement that the agency is now ready to send a team of inspectors must be studied again and the result will be announced after that,” he said.
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