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2 Oct, 2009 07:29

Iran agrees to further cooperation

Iran has agreed to cooperate with IAEA and is likely to invite agency inspectors to its second enriching facility in next few weeks. Further talks are also to take place.

The six powers have met with Iranian officials in Geneva for talks over its nuclear ambitions and agreed on three crucial points to answer unresolved questions. This includes further talks, planned for October.

Tehran has also pledged to allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency to visit the second uranium enrichment facility near Qom, the existence of which was revealed last week at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh. Plus, Iran has agreed to outsource some of its uranium enrichment to third-party countries.

“In consultations with the agency [IAEA] and under margins of today’s meeting it was agreed in principal that low-enriched uranium produced in Iran would be transported to third countries for further enrichment and fabrication into fuel assembles for the Tehran research reactor, which produces isotopes for medical applications," said Javier Solana, the European Union foreign policy chief.

Iran's Chief negotiator, Saeed Jalili, also struck an optimistic note about Thursday's negotiations.

"First, we agreed to continue our talks and secondly we decided to base them on the common ground that we raised in our package of proposals, the common ground what we have agreed upon.We will set the time and venue for the next talks within the next month," Jalili said.

Saeed Jalili also noted, though, that the media pressure was high during the negotiations.

“We are witnessing media terrorism, a fabrication of a fearful atmosphere, some ideas injected, while these threats are not real. And on the other hand, some of the real threats are being neglected,” Jalili said.

The Iranian negotiator made his point about the media even more poignant when he refused to answer a question from an Israeli reporter.

The U.S. and Iran also sat down for bilateral talks during a break in the meeting, what signaled a significant step forward from past U.S. policy of not negotiating with Tehran.

Nevertheless, the US later indicated that punitive actions will be back on the table if there is no progress by December.

“Today’s meeting was a constructive beginning,” said President Barack Obama. “But it must be followed with constructive action by the Iranian government. If Iran doesn’t take steps in the near future to live up to its obligations, then the US will not continue to negotiate indefinitely and we are prepared to move toward increased pressure.”

The Geneva talks included Iran and the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council, France, the United States, Britain, China, Russia plus Germany.

Russia is ready to help

Russia says it could additionally enrich Iranian uranium (4% enrichment) to 19.75% in the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s project on making fuel for a Tehran research reactor, a source familiar with the talks told journalists, according to Interfax and Itar-Tass news agencies.
“Russia views this idea positively,” the source said. “If the request comes from the IAEA, we will be ready to accept and additionally enrich this uranium.”

As for the fuel itself, Iran will have to order it from France, the source added, as the Iranian research reactor was built by Argentina, which used French technology.

“After the enrichment Russia can pass the fuel to France or Argentina, which can then make the fuel assembly for the Iranian research reactor,” the source said.

A 19.75% enrichment conforms with the IAEA standards for civilian nuclear materials.