Reuters: Iran is reviewing a “time out” proposal to stop its uranium enrichment expansion in return for a halt to further U.N. sanctions, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Sunday. TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran is reviewing a “time out” proposal to stop its uranium enrichment expansion in return for a halt to further U.N. sanctions, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Sunday.
In Vienna, a senior diplomat said world powers were debating the idea of offering Iran a pause to end the row over its atomic plans, which the West says is aimed at building nuclear bombs.
Iran has so far refused any such step, saying its nuclear work is purely civilian and legal.
“It (the proposal) has nothing new … It has been discussed in the past. But Iran is still reviewing the proposal,” spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini told a weekly news conference.
“Iran is willing to review all plans and proposals that guarantee Iran’s rights in the process of talks.”
Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who has held exploratory talks to discuss the nuclear row, had reviewed that proposal, he said.
The exploratory talks yielded no breakthrough on the core dispute — Iran’s refusal to suspend uranium enrichment as a condition for broader negotiations.
“All ideas have points of weakness and strength in them and they should be viewed more technically,” Hosseini said, adding that Iran wanted to resolve the standoff through talks.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed ElBaradei had earlier proposed a “double suspension” compromise, different to the time out idea because it involved a complete end to enrichment and lifting U.N. sanctions at the same time.
Iran had flatly rejected the double suspension, saying U.N. sanctions imposed on the Islamic state were illegal.
The head of parliament’s Foreign Affairs and National Security commission, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, on Saturday said the “time out” was “not a suitable” solution either, newspapers reported.
Iran has been hit with two sets of U.N. sanctions for not suspending enrichment work and a third set is being discussed by the veto-wielding members of the council — the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia — plus Germany.
Instead of halting enrichment, as the U.N. Security Council ordered, Iran has rapidly extended its program. Iran’s most powerful figure, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on Saturday Tehran would preserve its right to nuclear technology.
Iran has agreed with the IAEA chief to draw up a “plan of action” within two months defining how long-standing questions about Iran’s program would be answered. A U.N. team will visit Iran on July 11-13 to discuss the issue.
“The team will discuss the modalities of resolving the outstanding issues with the IAEA,” Hosseini said.