UN nuclear watchdog receives initial response from Iran on fuel agreement
29 October 2009 – Iran has submitted an initial response on a draft agreement on fuel for its civilian nuclear research facility to the head of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it was announced today.
Last week, the country asked for more time to consider the proposal on the provision of fuel for the site in Iran’s capital, Tehran, which, among other activities, produces medical radioisotopes for therapeutic and diagnostic procedures.
The agreement was announced at the end of a three-day meeting – also attended by representatives from France, Russia and the United States – at IAEA headquarters in Vienna on 21 October.
IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei had given the nations involved until last Friday to approve the proposal, but Iran asked for more time to consider the draft while the three other parties signalled their endorsement.
Mr. ElBaradei is consulting with the Iranian Government and others “with the hope that agreement on his proposal can be reached soon,” according to an IAEA press release.
Last week, he characterized the draft text as a “balanced approach on how to move forward,” adding that its endorsement by all four countries would be a “very important confidence-building measure that can defuse the crisis that has been going on for a number of years and open space for negotiations.”
The IAEA chief also voiced hope that if approved, the agreement will “open the way for a complete normalization of relations between Iran and the international community.”
Over the weekend, IAEA inspectors visited a recently-disclosed uranium enrichment facility in the Iranian city of Qom, southwest of Tehran, whose existence and construction the agency was informed of late last month.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said the facility violates Security Council resolutions because of the delay in its disclosure and has repeated his call for Iran to implement Council resolutions and cooperate with the IAEA on resolving outstanding concerns regarding its nuclear programme.
Iran has stated that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes, but some other countries contend it is driven by military ambitions. The issue has been of international concern since the discovery in 2003 that the country had concealed its nuclear activities for 18 years in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
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