Iran has been urged to respond quickly to a deal aimed at easing international tension over its atomic activities.
The head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog told the General Assembly in New York of the need for mutual guarantees. IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei said: “As I have pointed out many times, however, addressing the concerns of the international community about Iran’s future intentions is primarily a matter of confidence building which can only be achieved through dialogue. I therefore urge Iran to be as forthcoming as possible in responding soon to my recent proposal based on the initiative of the United States, Russia and France.” Tehran now looks to be stalling after initially appearing ready to make concessions. Visiting Malaysia, the Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki called for a review of the deal. It would see Iran sending the bulk of its low-enriched uranium to Russia and then to France for further processing in a way that would make it hard to use for warheads but still give Iran the fuel it needs. But today a senior Iranian official suggested Tehran would rather import atomic fuel than send its own uranium abroad. Iran insists its nuclear programme is for civilian energy purposes.