IAEA members urge Iran to continue talks, slam cooperation record
(dpa) - Delegates at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna urged Iran to reconsider Wednesday's decision to discontinue talks with the European Union over its nuclear programme.
Western nations at the same time made clear their dissatisfaction with Iran's cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog, in particular regarding allegations of possible nuclear weapons-related work, highlighted by the IAEA's latest report into its investigation into Tehran's nuclear programme.
Iran's record in complying with IAEA and UN Security Council demands remained "abysmal," British Ambassador Simon Smith, said, speaking on behalf of the E-3 - Britain, France and Germany.
"We are obliged to conclude that Iran has chosen up to now the non-cooperative path. As long as Iran's choice remains one of non-cooperation, we for our part will remain determined to demonstrate the costs and consequences of that choice," Smith said in his statement to the IAEA's 35-nation Board.
IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei told delegates that Iran still needed to provide proof for its claims that the allegations were unfounded and claims fabricated.
In Tehran, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ruled out further talks with any country after the UN Security Council on Monday adopted a third sanctions resolution against the country for its refusal to stop uranium enrichment.
Tehran has held several rounds of political talks with the EU in the past years, without, however, tangible results. EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Iranian chief nuclear negotiator Saeid Jalili last met on November 30.
Delegates in Vienna called on Iran to keep talks going. Slovenia, which holds the rotating EU Presidency, urged Iran to engage in talks over the incentives package offered by the EU in 2006 in exchange for suspension of its controversial uranium enrichment drive.
The European Union offered Iran help to build new light water nuclear reactors, giving Iran "everything it needs to develop a civilian nuclear power industry while addressing international concerns," Slovenian Ambassador Ernest Petric said.
The dual-track strategy of pursuing a diplomatic solution backed up by sanctions while offering negotiations represented a path forward for Iran, US chief envoy Gregory Schulte said.
A separate sanction at the IAEA board asking Iran to increase cooperation was dropped on Tuesday due to reservations by developing countries on the board as well Russia, which nonetheless urged Iran to cooperate.