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Iran needs time to review IAEA plan

The IAEA proposed the simultaneous time-out plan in an effort to end the standoff over between the West and Iran over the disputed nuclear programme.

india Updated: Jan 29, 2007 12:01 IST

Iran has said it needed time to review a plan proposed by the head of the UN nuclear watchdog that calls for holding off on imposing UN Security Council sanctions if Tehran halts uranium enrichment.

International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei proposed the simultaneous time-out plan during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in an effort to end the standoff over between the West and Iran over the Islamic Republic's disputed nuclear programme.

"Time should be allocated to see if the plan has the capacity to solve the (nuclear) case," Ali Larijani, Iran's top nuclear negotiator, told reporters during a joint news conference with Russia's national security adviser, Igor Ivanov. He did not elaborate.

The Security Council last month voted unanimously in favour of imposing limited sanctions on Iran after it ignored demands to halt enrichment.

Iran faces the prospect of additional sanctions unless it stops enrichment, which can produce material usable both as fuel for electricity-generating reactors and for nuclear weapons, by the end of a 60-day period that ends next month.

Though Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful, the US and its allies believe it is secretly developing atomic weapons.

Ivanov said ElBaradei's proposal could be "remarkable" and was optimistic that the dispute could be resolved if both sides agreed to it.

Iranian state-run radio reported earlier on Sunday that Tehran wants Moscow to help mediate the standoff, saying the country was looking to Russia for "new proposals, such as enrichment of uranium on Russian soil.

First Published: Jan 29, 2007 12:01 IST