Zee Media Bureau/Deepak Nagpal
Geneva: Iran has indicated that it is okay with the suggestion the Middle East nation allow international inspectors wider access to its nuclear plants, which the West suspects is aimed more at building an atomic bomb than generate nuclear power.
The indication was given by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi at two-day talks with six world powers here on Tuesday. The talks conclude later today.
The wider access to the UN atomic watchdog is part of Iran’s three-phase plan to end the deadlock with the West over its nuclear programme.
In return, Tehran is seeking lifting of sanctions that have been hurting its oil-dependent economy.
Iran hasn’t spelled out its plan in the open but said the same incorporates inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Vienna-based UN nuclear watchdog.
"Neither of these issues are within the first step (of the Iranian proposal) but form part of our last steps," Araqchi said in response to questions on uranium enrichment and the so-called Additional Protocol to Iran`s agreement with the IAEA.
The Additional Protocol permits snap inspections at locations that have not been declared by Iran as nuclear sites. IAEA believes this concession will help it make sure Iran is not building a nuclear bomb.
The P5+1 world powers have been demanding that Iran implement the protocol. The latter terms it voluntary.
The powers - the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia - also want Iran to scale back its uranium enrichment program and suspend higher-level activity.