Deputy FM: 20% Enrichment off Agenda in Iran-IAEA Talks

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Araqchi said the country’s 20-percent uranium enrichment was not the subject of discussion between Tehran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna talks that ended on Thursday.

Deputy FM: 20% Enrichment off Agenda in Iran-IAEA Talks

“20 percent enrichment is not the topic of discussion between Iran and the (International Atomic Energy) agency, because the agency is basically charged with surveillance, thus, the issue will be discussed in Iran-G5+1 talks,” Araqchi said in a television interview on Thursday.

Iran and the UN nuclear agency wrapped up two days of technical nuclear talks at the headquarters of IAEA in Vienna, Austria, on Tuesday.

After the two-day negotiations -- the 12th round of such meetings since January last year -- Iran and the IAEA issued a joint statement in which they described the discussions as “substantive.” The two sides also decided that a further meeting be held on November 11 in Tehran.

"As there have been some misgivings, and consequently some concerns, over Iran's nuclear program, we decided to expand our cooperation with the IAEA to address the misgivings; some of the adopted measures are beyond the Safeguards Agreement, but as we are sure of the peaceful nature of our nuclear program, we decided to cooperate to allay the unfounded concerns," he said.

Iran, one of the original states to sign the Nonproliferation Treaty, completed its Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA in 1974. Areas covered include the application and implementation of safeguards, materials control, provision of information to the IAEA, and the non-application of safeguards to nuclear material to be used in non-peaceful activities.

Meanwhile, representatives of Iran and the Group 5+1 (the US, Russia, China, Britain, France as well as Germany) wrapped up two days of expert-level talks in Austria’s Vienna on October 31.

The meeting included nuclear and sanctions experts from Iran and the six world powers.

Iran’s seven-member team of experts was led by Hamid Ba’eedinejad, the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s director general for political affairs.

Iran and the six major world powers had also held two days of negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear energy program in Geneva, Switzerland, on October 15-16. The two are to meet again in the Swiss city on November 7-8.

In the meantime, Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi announced on Wednesday that the country has not stopped its 20% uranium enrichment activities.

“20% enriched uranium and nuclear plates are being produced inside Iran and there has never been a halt in production process,” Salehi said, adding that fuel plates are needed for Tehran Research Reactor and production of radio medicines.

All of Iran's nuclear activities are fully supervised by the IAEA inspectors and cameras.

But, the United States, Israel and some of their allies have repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program, with the US and the European Union having used the unsubstantiated claim as an excuse to impose illegal sanctions against Tehran.

Iran, however, rejects the allegation, stressing that as a committed member of the IAEA and a signatory to the NPT, it is entitled to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

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