Reuters: The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Thursday that a Russian plan to defuse the crisis over Iran’s nuclear ambitions was an attractive proposal that could lead towards a solution. DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Thursday that a Russian plan to defuse the crisis over Iran’s nuclear ambitions was an attractive proposal that could lead towards a solution.
Russia has suggested it could provide enriched uranium to Iran. That would remove the need for Iran to carry out the process of enrichment itself, which can purify uranium for use in power production or nuclear weapons.
“I am hopeful the Russian proposal could provide the beginning of a solution,” Mohamed ElBaradei told the World Economic Forum.
He said it was still unclear whether and at what point Iran should be referred to the United Nations Security Council.
The United States and European Union are both urging such a move when the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency meets on Feb. 2. Both say Iran has failed to dispel suspicions that it might be seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Iran insists its nuclear programme is purely peaceful.
“Whether you go to the Security Council or not, that’s a policy judgment that has to be made by the member states,” ElBaradei said.
“But even if you go to the Security Council, I think everybody understands that ultimately you need to go back to the negotiating table.”
ElBaradei said Iran, which triggered the latest crisis by removing U.N. seals this month to reopen equipment for nuclear fuel research, needed to show “maximum transparency” because there were many questions surrounding its nuclear programme.
He said Iran probably needed to go through a “rehabilitation period” in which it would agree not to enrich uranium on its own territory but be guaranteed a supply of nuclear fuel to use for generating electricity.
“That’s why the Russian proposal is such an attractive proposal,” he said, adding that he was encouraged by positive comments on the plan on Thursday by Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani.