The United Nations nuclear watchdog IAEA accepted the European Union's resolution designed to stop Iran's enrichment program Thursday despite a warning from Tehran that acceptance would have consequences.
IAEA director ElBaradei stressed the need for dialogue in Vienna
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director Mohamed ElBaradei said Thursday he would issue a new report on Iran's nuclear program on September 3, adding there were possibilities of more talks between Tehran and the European Union.
"We still have a window of opportunity," he said in Vienna after the executive board of the UN's nuclear watchdog agency accepted the EU's resolution. "Every opportunity should be made to defuse the crisis, through dialogue," he added.
ElBaradei said that by adopting the proposal, the IAEA board had judged it essential that Tehran reverse its resumption this week of uranium conversion activities at its Isfahan plant as a "confidence-building measure" after years of dissimulation.
Talks to secure guarantees that Iran is not covertly developing a nuclear weapons capability under the guise of civil operations have been led by EU heavyweights Britain, France and Germany.
The IAEA director said he was "very encouraged by the statements made by Iran and the three Europeans that they are ready to continue negotiations."
The IAEA reopened the meeting to debate the EU resolution calling on Iran to halt the development of nuclear fuel in the face of a warning from Tehran that an accord with the European Union over its nuclear program would become void if the IAEA adopted the resolution.
Acceptance would void accord, says Tehran
Mohammad Saidi, deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, said in Tehran that the resolution was "unacceptable" and that "the Paris accord will become void if the resolution proposed by the Europeans is adopted."
Iran signed an accord with the EU in Paris in November under which it agreed to suspend uranium conversion and enrichment fuel cycle work for the duration of negotiations aimed at securing guarantees that its program is purely peaceful.
IAEA meeting as enrichment set to restart
Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohammed ElBaradei, left, prior the start of the IAEA's emergency meeting on Iran's latest nuclear activities on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2005 at Vienna's International Center. The meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-nation board of governors came a day after Iran restarted some activities at its nuclear plant at the central Iranian city of Isfahan.
The IAEA's 35-nation board was meeting in emergency session in Vienna a day after Tehran raised the stakes in the crisis over its nuclear program by removing IAEA seals placed on a uranium conversion facility.
The plant at Isfahan carries out the first step in making enriched uranium that can be fuel for power reactors, but can also serve as the raw material for nuclear bombs.
Encouraged by Iran, non-aligned nations at the IAEA opposed the draft resolution and forced a delay in opening Thursday's formal board session as intense, closed-door negotiations continued, diplomats said.
EU wants full suspension of activities
A security person talks on his radio, at the Uranium Conversion Facility of Iran, just outside the city of Isfahan, 410 kilometers, 255 miles south of the capital Tehran, Monday, Aug. 8, 2005. Iran resumed uranium conversion activities at the facility Monday.
According to the draft, Iran is urged "to reestablish full suspension of all enrichment-related activities including the production of feed material, including through tests of production at the uranium conversion facility" in Isfahan.
The IAEA is being asked for a consensus adoption of the text from EU negotiators Britain, Germany and France, which stops short of calling for the matter to be taken immediately to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions, as Washington wants.
EU, US on negotiation tight rope
The proposed resolution comes at a time when the United States and Europe are trying to find a way to rein in Iran while at the same time keep Tehran negotiating with the EU in talks over eight months on giving guarantees that its nuclear program is peaceful.