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Iran ready to share nuclear research data

world Updated: Aug 21, 2007 21:37 IST
Iran

Tehran is prepared to share data on its controversial nuclear programme with the United Nations nuclear watchdog, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday.

Iran, which western countries suspect of pursuing a secret nuclear weapons programme, has stepped up cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in recent months, and in late July invited inspectors to visit a 40-MW heavy water reactor in Arak.

"Our achievements in the nuclear sphere belong to the entire world. The Islamic Republic of Iran is prepared to present these achievements to the IAEA member states under the IAEA charter," the president was quoted by local media as saying.

Ahmadinejad said his country would continue nuclear research for civilian purposes in accordance with its rights under international law.

A delegation from the IAEA arrived in Tehran on Monday for a new round of talks aimed at resolving the international dispute over Iran's nuclear programme.

The UN body is represented by Deputy Director Olli Heinonen, and the Iranian delegation is led by deputy chief nuclear negotiator Javad Vaeedi, vice secretary of the country's security council.

The last round of talks between the IAEA and Iran was held in July in Vienna. The country, which says its nuclear programme is geared towards generating electricity in order to divert oil and gas resources for export, drafted an action plan in June on giving IAEA inspectors access to nuclear facilities, in a bid to avert new UN sanctions.

Iran has defied three consecutive UN resolutions against its nuclear programme since last year. The six countries negotiating the dispute - permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany - have demanded that Tehran suspend all uranium enrichment before negotiating a solution.

President Ahmadinejad announced in early April the launch of industrial-scale uranium enrichment.