'US report could help defuse Iranian N-crisis' | world | Hindustan Times
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'US report could help defuse Iranian N-crisis'

Mohamed ElBaradei says a new US intelligence report conceding that Iran is no longer developing nuclear weapons would help defuse tensions between Tehran and West.

world Updated: Dec 05, 2007 15:38 IST

United Nations nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei has said a new US intelligence report conceding that Iran is no longer developing nuclear weapons would help defuse tensions between Tehran and West.

But ElBaradei also asked Iran to work actively with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to clarify some important aspects of its past and present nuclear programmes.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had no immediate comment on the report, his spokesperson said referred to the reporters to the statement issued by the Vienna-based agency.

The American intelligence report released on Monday said US allegations about Iran's atomic goals had been exaggerated for at least two years, even if Tehran could still have the capability to make a nuclear weapon by 2015.

Elbaradei also urged Iran to allow his agency to provide assurance to the world regarding the nature of its programme by clarifying the issues it had raised.

In light of the new report, ElBaradei urged all parties to enter negotiations as soon as possible to "build confidence about the future direction of Iran's nuclear programme" and address the concerns repeatedly expressed by the Security Council.

Talks are also necessary to generate a "comprehensive and durable solution that would normalize the relationship between Iran and the international community," he said.

The country's nuclear programme has been a matter of international concern since the discovery in 2003 that it had concealed its nuclear activities for 18 years in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

In September, ElBaradei welcomed Iran's agreement on a timeline to address all outstanding issues regarding the country's nuclear programme.