Western powers dismiss Iran's nuclear "charm offensive" (UPDATE)

Western powers dismiss Iran's nuclear "charm offensive" (UPDATE)

Adds Iran statement

Western powers said they are unimpressed by Iran's effort to be more transparent about its nuclear programme and resume talks with them, in statements delivered Wednesday at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), dpa reported.

Iran's envoy warned that the window of opportunity opened by Tehran might close, and criticized the United States and the group of Britain, France and Germany for their tough stance at the IAEA board of governors.

"Stonewalling the IAEA, flouting UN Security Council obligations and mounting this most recent charm offensive do not reflect a good-faith effort to resolve those concerns," US envoy Glyn Davies told reporters.

In August, a senior IAEA nuclear inspector was granted a rare one-time visit to Iran's nuclear installations, and Tehran has said it would talk about the weapons allegations, but only under certain conditions.

But the four Western countries said the latest report by the Vienna-based agency shows that Iran is not answering questions about allegations that it is working on a nuclear weapon.

"This has been a selective and insufficient transparency," Britain, France and Germany said in a joint statement delivered to the board.

Iranian ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh said Western countries should recognize that his country had opened a new chapter.

"In a nutshell I expect all to seize this opportunity and not to disappoint my authorities who have made such an unprecendented concession thus not to force reconsideration of the approach," he added.

In a proposal to the US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China earlier this month, Tehran called for a resumption of negotiations, but suggested it would not stop its uranium enrichment programme.

Davies said the six world powers still have to decide how to react to the letter that Saeid Jalili, head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, wrote to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, the coordinator of such talks, earlier this month.

But he added: "I don't see, from the standpoint of the work that is going on here, anything new by way of an Iranian commitment to fully address the concerns that the international community has."

The European countries said Iran had yet to opt for the path of diplomacy.

The last round of Iranian talks with the six world powers ended without results in January in Istanbul.

The four Western countries said they were especially concerned about an Iranian underground facility that can enrich uranium to a level of 20 per cent.

Davies said it takes very little effort to further enrich this product to a level used in nuclear weapons.

Tehran's leaders deny that they are seeking nuclear weapons and view Security Council demands to stop enrichment as illegal.

IAEA chief Yukiya Amano is planning to issue detailed technical information soon to back up his assertion that the agency is increasingly concerned about possible ongoing weapons projects.

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