Tehran, June 21 (Reuters): Iran backed away from confrontation over its nuclear programme today, saying it was ready to cooperate more actively with UN inspectors to dispel doubts about the Islamic republic’s nuclear ambitions.
“We will definitely try to cooperate more than before with the IAEA and give them the necessary assurances about Iran’s activities,” the head of Iran’s atomic energy programme, Gholamreza Aghazadeh, said in Tehran.
Iran has faced mounting pressure in recent weeks from the IAEA, the UN nuclear watchdog, and the US over the nature of its nuclear programme.
The IAEA reprimanded Iran yesterday for repeatedly failing to report nuclear material, facilities and activities as required under its safeguards agreement with the agency.
It urged Iran to remain “transparent” and accept without delay or conditions more intrusive, short-notice inspections. Taking a conciliatory line, Aghazadeh said Iran was positive and optimistic about reaching an agreement with the IAEA on an additional protocol the UN agency has asked Iran to sign to allow more intrusive nuclear inspections and at short notice.
“We have never said we don’t want to sign the Additional Protocol... Our view about the protocol is positive,” he said.
“Naturally, the way we will choose is the way of cooperation and reaching an acceptable settlement for both sides.”
Asked in Jordan about Aghazadeh’s latest comments, IAEA chief Mohammed ElBaradei said he would welcome Iran’s cooperation. “I have lots of confidence that Iran will understand that it is in its best interest to work with the IAEA,” he said.
“The more cooperative they are, the more confidence they can create in the international community and the quicker we can resolve the whole nuclear issue in Iran,“ he said.