Iran wants U.N. to wrap up nuclear probe

/ Source: The Associated Press

Iran has taken steps toward reassuring the world its nuclear program is peaceful and wants the International Atomic Energy Agency to wrap up its review of the matter, Iran's top nuclear negotiator said Sunday, a day before the U.N. nuclear watchdog is to discuss the program.

"We have two goals ahead of us that we must achieve -- one is ending Iran's nuclear dossier with the IAEA board of governors. Iran's dossier has to be completely taken out of the IAEA board of governors' agenda," Hasan Rowhani told a meeting of senior Iranian officials.

The other goal, he said, is to have Iran recognized globally as a nuclear country.

Rowhani, who also chairs the Supreme National Security Council, did not say when the review should be closed or threaten to end Iran's cooperation with the IAEA. But he indicated it should be soon.

"We took steps toward confidence-building. ... We believe it is a world of give and take," he said at a meeting of the Experts Assembly, the body that advises the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Rowhani also reiterated past suggestions that Iran considers a resumption to its uranium enrichment program only a matter of time. Iran temporarily stopped its enrichment program last year as a goodwill gesture of its intent to cooperate with the IAEA.

"There is nothing permanent. We signed the additional protocol ... and when to resume is in the hands of our system (the ruling Islamic establishment)," Rowhani said.

"We want Iran to be recognized as a member of the nuclear club, that means Iran be recognized as a country having the nuclear fuel cycle, and enriching uranium. This is very difficult for the world to accept," he said.

An enrichment program also would be necessary for producing nuclear weapons, which Iran repeatedly has said is not its intent. The United States maintains Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons and has been seeking a declaration that Iran is in breach of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the IAEA, said recently that Iran's relations with the U.N. agency had improved considerably over the past year, despite discoveries by IAEA inspectors of traces of radioactive elements and advanced equipment in Iran that could be used to make atomic weapons.

ElBaradei, however, has refused to speculate on how the IAEA's board might react when it convenes in Vienna, Austria, on Monday to discuss Iran's nuclear program.

Iran is hoping a positive declaration from the agency could put the matter to rest and lead to the resumption of trade talks with the European Union.