Iran wants more talks on how to procure nuclear fuel for a Tehran reactor before it gives a final reply to a UN-drafted deal, the official IRNA news agency said on Friday.
UN atomic watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said on Thursday it has received an “initial response” from Iran to the deal, but IRNA said it was not Tehran's answer” to the plan brokered by the agency.
“The Islamic republic only announced its positive view to the negotiation and has said it is ready to have negotiations based on its technical and economic considerations regarding how to procure fuel for the Tehran reactor,” IRNA said, quoting an unnamed informed source.
IRNA also indicated that Tehran's message to the IAEA was “not an answer to the draft agreement,” adding that Iran would announce its full position after further negotiations.
World powers have been waiting for a response from Tehran for the IAEA-drafted deal which proposes to ship out Iran's low-enriched uranium (LEU) abroad for converting into fuel for a Tehran reactor.
Western diplomats complained of stalling tactics by Iran suggesting it had scant interest in following through on a plan they see as crucial to showing Tehran wants refined uranium only for peaceful energy, as it says, not nuclear bombs.
They said Iran's initial reply to the IAEA on Thursday did not form a basis for negotiations and that it was urgent Tehran give a full, official response to the proposed deal with the United States, France and Russia.
Western officials remained largely quiet on Iran's signals and left IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei to push the Islamic Republic for more detail.
"As far as the government's response is concerned, this is still outstanding," a diplomat close to the IAEA said. "The IAEA has to wait until Iran responds (fully) and take it from there. Naturally they are aware of the urgency of their formal reply."