By Farhad Pouladi (AFP) – Oct 5, 2009
TEHRAN — Iran, praised by the UN atomic watchdog chief for deciding to cooperate with world powers over its nuclear programme, said on Monday it will head with a "positive" approach into the next round of talks later this month.
Foreign ministry spokesman Hassan Ghashghavi reiterated at a news conference that the Iranian nuclear programme was peaceful in purpose and dismissed Western demands that Tehran offer guarantees to this effect.
Iran and Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States are to meet again on October 19 for more discussions on Tehran's nuclear programme after talks last week in Geneva, the first in 15 months.
Ghashghavi said he was not in a position to make a "judgment" about how the next round of talks would proceed, but he said that Tehran "was going forward with this positive approach."
"We think it is constructive because the fact is that the negotiations are going forward," he said. "Its continuation shows that there is material to talk about in the future. We see no reason to be pessimistic."
Iran tentatively agreed in Geneva to ship some of its stocks of low enriched uranium abroad for processing into fuel for an internationally supervised research reactor in Tehran.
Ghashghavi stressed that Iran had the capability to enrich the uranium to the required 20 percent purity itself but had chosen to look to others to carry out the sensitive work.
"We will discuss the mechanism with other parties willing to provide the enriched fuel on October 19," he said.
On Mohamed ElBaradei's weekend visit to Tehran, Ghashghavi said the outgoing UN atomic chief had "praised Iran's cooperation" over the nuclear file.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) head flew in to the Iranian capital on Saturday to work out the procedures for UN inspections of Iran's newly disclosed uranium enrichment plant near the holy city of Qom.
After a series of meetings with Iranian officials, ElBaradei told reporters on Sunday that UN experts would visit the site on October 25.
He also said that the controversy over Iran's nuclear programme can be solved through dialogue.
"At present we are shifting from confrontation to cooperation and I am asking Iran to continue its transparency," ElBaradei said.
"We are now on an appropriate path. The agency and the international community and Iran have started constructive talks."
The disclosure by Tehran prior to last week's Geneva talks that it is building a second nuclear enrichment plant inside a mountain at Qom triggered worldwide outrage.
Late on Sunday, Iran's atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi said Tehran would install its "domestically built new generation centrifuges" in the Qom plant, but did not offer details on the type of centrifuges -- the device that rotates at supersonic speed to enrich uranium.
Salehi also said that the UN inspection on October 25 was of a "routine" nature, adding that the IAEA was under pressure from some world powers. "One cannot rule out the pressures of some powers on the IAEA," he said.
Ghashghavi was adamant on Monday that Iran's nuclear programme was purely for peaceful purposes.
"There is no military diversion in our nuclear activities. How can we prove the non-existence of something?" he asked. "Such issue cannot be proved. There is no nuclear weapon" in Iran.
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