Iran pledges cooperation with IAEA private and public sector players on nuclear

In a much-anticipated speech, the President of Iran today pledged before the United Nations General Assembly that Tehran would open its uranium enrichment programme to cooperation with private and public sector players, eschew the production of nuclear arms, engage the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and continue talks with concerned countries on the issue.Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prefaced his proposals by warning that “once certain powerful States completely control nuclear energy resources and technology, they will deny access to other States and thus deepen the divide between powerful countries and the rest of the international community.” He charged that “hegemonic powers” have misrepresented Iran’s technological endeavors in the nuclear field as pursuit of nuclear weapons. “This is nothing but a propaganda ploy.”Declaring that Iran, in accordance with its religious principles, would never develop nuclear weapons, he said that his country is “prepared to engage in serious partnership with private and public sectors of other countries in the implementation of uranium enrichment program in Iran.”The centerpiece of Iran’s nuclear policy will be continued interaction as well as technical and legal cooperation with the IAEA, he pledged, adding that relevant Iranian officials have been directed to compile the legal and technical details of Iran’s nuclear approach. At the same time, he stressed that Iran, “in its pursuit of peaceful nuclear technology, considers it within its legitimate rights to receive objective guarantees for uranium enrichment in the nuclear fuel cycle.”He also referred to negotiations with the socalled EU3 – France, Germany and the United Kingdom – saying: “The selection of our negotiating partners and the continuation of negotiations with the EU3 will be commensurate with the requirements of our cooperation with the Agency regarding non-diversion of the process of uranium enrichment to non-peaceful purposes in the framework of the provisions of the NPT,” or Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.Several proposals already presented can be considered in the context of the talks, he said. Given South Africa’s contribution so far and its active role in the IAEA Board of Governors, he said Iran would welcome that country’s active participation in the negotiations.In order to implement the decisions of the last two international conferences on the NPT, he proposed that the General Assembly mandate an ad-hoc committee to “compile and submit a comprehensive report on possible practical mechanisms and strategies for complete disarmament.” The committee should also investigate how nuclear weapons were “transferred to the Zionist regime,” and should propose practical measures for establishing a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East.President Ahmadinejad said his proposals were being submitted in a spirit of good faith but warned that “if some try to impose their will on the Iranian people through resort to a language of force and threat with Iran, we will reconsider our entire approach to the nuclear issue.”Diplomats have been anticipating President Ahmadinejad’s speech for some time because of public comments that it would contain new proposals paving the way for a breakthrough on the nuclear issue.

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