Iran, IAEA make substantial nuclear agreement

July 15, 2007 - 0:0

-01 [pol] [ed] @H= Iran, IAEA make substantial nuclear agreement @K= Vaeedi calls Iran-IAEA talks "serious and good" @K= Heinonen: IAEA, Iran make "some important steps" in nuclear talks

TEHRAN (Agencies) – Negotiators from Iran and the UN nuclear watchdog has announced that they succeeded to take “serious and substantial steps” toward resolving the remaining technical nuclear questions between Iran and the UN body after three rounds of talks on Wednesday and Thursday. International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA) deputy head for safeguards Olli Heinonen said on Thursday that his agency's talks with Iran witnessed "some important steps." "We had constructive discussions and made some important steps," Heinonen told told a joint news conference with Javad Vaeedi, deputy secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council. "We will continue discussions in coming weeks," he said. "The atmosphere was very good." An IAEA team led by Heinonen arrived in Iran on Wednesday morning in a bid to draw up a framework to resolve the dispute over Iran's nuclear program. The IAEA delegation, including legal, political and technical officials held talks with Iranian negotiators. "We immediately agreed on four or five steps. We'll continue on present issues in the next weeks and we look forward to progress," Heinonen said. "Iran did some things in the past where we were not present and we have to reconstruct this history," he added. "If the cooperation continues like this we hope that the problems will be solved, not now but in a reasonable future," Heinonen explained. Meanwhile, IRNA news agency quoted Vaeedi as saying that Iranian and IAEA officials made a "breakthrough" on drawing up a benchmark to settle the technical dispute. The two sides reached substantial agreement on composition of the benchmark, Vaeedi said. The idea to draw up the framework was put forward by Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani last month when he was in Madrid, Spain, for talks with the European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana about Iran's nuclear program. Late last month, in a meeting with the IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei in Vienna, Larijani invited a delegation from the IAEA to visit Iran and hold talks with Iranian officials overdrawing an action plan to put an end to the stalemate between Iran and the UN nuclear watchdog. --------------Serious and good talks "We discussed methods to regulate the outstanding problems with the agency, and made good progress," he told reporters. "We divided the matters into two parts, the current and the past problems. We reached agreement on certain points, we agreed on some modalities for our cooperation and our work with the IAEA," Vaeedi added. He also hoped to be able to "solve the remaining questions in a timeframe which is convenient to both parties." ElBaradei has said that "drawing up a plan of action" should take 60 days. Implementation would then begin on resolving questions about Iranian nuclear activities. The deputy head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Saeedi, said another round of talks between Iranian and IAEA officials was in the offing. "No date but very near future," he told reporters. He also said that the IAEA delegation had met on Wednesday with Larijani, but he did not elaborate on the talks. ------------ UN hails nuclear agreement The UN's atomic agency said on Friday that it has reached a deal with Iran to allow new inspections and safeguards at key nuclear facilities. Tehran will allow inspectors into Arak heavy water plant and agree safeguards at its Natanz uranium enrichment plant, the UN nuclear watchdog said. The agency's deputy director described the deal as a framework for resolving a range of nuclear issues with Iran. Under the terms of the deal a new team of nuclear inspectors will be put together. That team will then quickly granted access to the heavy water reactor plant at Arak before the end of July, Heinonen said