TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran said on Monday it would head into the next round of talks with six world powers on the Islamic republic’s controversial nuclear programme later this month with a “positive” approach.
Foreign ministry spokesman Hassan Ghashghavi also said that the head of the UN atomic watchdog Mohamed ElBaradei had been full of praise for Iran’s cooperation during his weekend visit to Tehran.
Ghashghavi reiterated at a news conference that the Iranian nuclear programme was peaceful in purpose, and dismissed Western demands that Tehran offer guarantees to this effect.
Iran and Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States are to meet again by the end of October for more discussions on Tehran’s nuclear programme after talks last week in Geneva, the first in 15 months.
Ghashghavi said he was not in a position to make a “judgment” about how the late October round of talks would proceed, but he said that Tehran “was going forward with this positive approach.”
“We think it is constructive because the fact is that the negotiations are going forward,” he said.
“Its continuation shows that there is material to talk about in the future. We see no reason to be pessimistic.”
On ElBaradei’s weekend visit to Tehran, Ghashghavi said the outgoing UN atomic chief had “praised Iran’s cooperation” over the nuclear file.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) flew in to the Iranian capital on Saturday to work out the procedures for UN inspections of Iran’s newly disclosed uranium enrichment plant near the holy city of Qom.
After a series of meetings with Iranian officials, ElBaradei told reporters on Sunday that UN experts would visit the site on October 25.
He also said that the controversy over Iran’s nuclear programme can be solved through dialogue.
“At present we are shifting from confrontation to cooperation and I am asking Iran to continue its transparency,” ElBaradei said.
“We are now on an appropriate path. The agency and the international community and Iran have started constructive talks.”
The disclosure by Tehran prior to last week’s Geneva talks that it is building a second nuclear enrichment plant inside a mountain at Qom triggered worldwide outrage.
Ghashghavi was adamant on Monday that Iran’s nuclear programme was purely for peaceful purposes.
“There is no military diversion in our nuclear activities. How can we prove the non-existence of something?” he asked.
“Such issue cannot be proved. There is no nuclear weapon” in Iran.