TEHRAN – A top Foreign Ministry official has said Iran presented a new “step-by-step” proposal to the International Atomic Energy Agency to help resolve the dispute over the country’s nuclear program.
“We have presented a new modality and proposal for cooperation to the agency, which is step-by-step like (the proposal put forward in) Geneva,” Abbas Araqchi, the deputy foreign minister who is also a top nuclear negotiator, said in a televised interview broadcast live on Iranian television on Thursday night in reference to a recent meeting between Iran and the UN nuclear agency.
“Some remaining details of the modality will be completed in (the next round of the meeting in) Tehran,” he said, adding, “This proposal is a new model for cooperation between Iran and the agency on the issues beyond the safeguards.”
“The agency has agreed to start with simpler steps so that the atmosphere will be prepared for interaction,” he said.
Iran and the IAEA held a new round of talks on Monday and Tuesday on how to advance further investigation into Iran’s nuclear program and agreed to meet again in Tehran on November 11.
After the end of the two-day meeting in Vienna, Tero Varjoranta, the agency’s deputy director general in charge of nuclear inspections, told reporters that the IAEA and Iran “had a very productive meeting on past and present issues.”
Iranian Ambassador to the IAEA Reza Najafi, who led the Iranian delegation, also said Tehran presented new ideas to overcome the dispute.
“I believe that, with the submission of these new proposals by Iran, we have been able to open a new chapter of cooperation,” he said.
The Iran-IAEA discussions are separate from, but closely linked to, broader negotiations between Tehran and six world powers aimed at an overall political solution to the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program, which the West claims may be geared to developing nuclear weapons.
Iran says it is enriching uranium only to fuel nuclear power stations, and for medical purposes.
The last meeting between Iran and the United States, France, Britain, Germany, China and Russia was held on October 15-16 in Geneva, and another one is scheduled for November 7-8, just a few days before the next Iran-IAEA meeting.
Iran and world powers also ended an expert-level meeting on Thursday.
The two-day meeting was meant to prepare for the next round of political negotiations in Geneva.
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