Tehran keen on success in talks with West for phased removal of sanctions

Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have held technical discussion for the second successive day on a framework for inspections that could allay western apprehensions about Tehran’s suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons.

A fresh round of nuclear talks had kick-started on Monday afternoon following a meeting between Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi and IAEA head Yukiya Amano. Both sides were working on a framework document that would allow IAEA inspectors to access suspected sites inside Iran. Tehran has denied accusations that its Parchin military facility may have been used to carry out high-explosives-testing, which has applications in triggering a nuclear explosion.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Marzieh Afkham said on Tuesday that Tehran was pursuing a “new approach” in its engagement with the IAEA, which is expected to “answer [the IAEA’s] questions, remove the ambiguities, and lead to further cooperation”.

On September 27, Iran had declared its readiness to work out an agreement on nuclear inspections, following talks in Vienna.

Analysts point out that Iran is keen to achieve a breakthrough in its nuclear dialogue with the West so that a phased removal of current sanctions is achieved. Besides, with the suspicions of weapons programme out of the way, Tehran wants to launch an ambitious programme of atomic power generation along its Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea coastlines.

On October 23, Ali Akbar Salehi, former Foreign Minister and current head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI), announced that Tehran plans to build new atomic power plants along the Persian Gulf coast.

“What we have in mind is to build [nuclear] power plants on the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea coasts, but we have prioritised the Persian Gulf shores as we are going to pave the way for the desalination of water for the southern provinces,” Press TV quoted Mr. Salehi as saying.

Tehran Times also quoted Mr. Salehi as saying in three months, Iran will establish a production line for enriched uranium dioxide for use in Iran’s lone, Russian-built, Bushehr atomic power plant.

Iran took over Bushehr from the Russians on September 23. However, Russian engineers would provide backup support for two years, following which the facility would fall under independent Iranian control. Iran will source atomic fuel for the 1,000-MWe plant from Moscow till 2017. Spent fuel, which can be processed to yield fissile material for a bomb, will be returned to Russia, according to an agreement that the two countries have previously signed.

More In: World | International | News