Reuters: A senior Iranian official on Wednesday ruled out a nuclear “time out” proposal under which Iran would stop uranium enrichment expansion in return for a halt to further U.N. sanctions, an Iranian news agency reported. TEHRAN (Reuters) – A senior Iranian official on Wednesday ruled out a nuclear “time out” proposal under which Iran would stop uranium enrichment expansion in return for a halt to further U.N. sanctions, an Iranian news agency reported.
A senior diplomat said last month 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, a charge Tehran denies.
The United Nations has demanded a suspension of uranium enrichment, a process that can make fuel for power stations or material for warheads. Iran has rejected suspending its work but previously said it was reviewing the “time out” idea.
“From our viewpoint, this issue is not on the table,” said Javad Vaeedi, deputy to Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani, in reference to the “time out”, the official IRNA news agency reported.
Exploratory talks between Larijani and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana yielded no breakthrough on the core dispute of suspension.
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.
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 Security Council — the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia — plus Germany.
Iran insists its case should be handled by the IAEA and not the Security Council. Vaeedi warned against further U.N. action.
“When we are cooperating with the agency there shouldn’t be any destructive actions in this path in the U.N. Security Council because the actions that take place in the Security Council do not have any technical and legal basis,” he said.
The IAEA says Iran has not provided enough information to clear up questions about its atomic ambitions.