The UN’s atomic watchdog has been told that Iran is ready to discuss its nuclear programme – but only in the absence of preconditions, pressure or threats. The message was delivered in Vienna by the Islamic Republic’s envoy to the IAEA. It comes amid reports that UN inspectors have protested to the US government and a Congressional committee about a report on Iran’s nuclear work – apparently calling parts of the study “outrageous and dishonest.” Iranian envoy Aliasghar Soltanieh outlined Tehran’s demands, including the following measures: “To return the nuclear dossier of Iran to the IAEA framework where it belongs…. A total disengagement of the United Nations Security Council.” He added: “I hope that this message is passed to the whole world that Iran is for the peaceful settlement of this issue through dialogue and negotiation.”
With Washington pushing for punitive action to be taken against Iran by the UN Security Council, the Chinese Prime Minister offered a word of warning as he visited Berlin. Wen Jiabao said world powers should be “careful” about imposing sanctions because such measures could be counter-productive. Western nations fear Iran wants to develop nuclear weapons – something Tehran denies.