Iran holds talks with IAEA chief on nuclear issues

Vienna–Iran’s foreign minister met the head of the United Nations’ nuclear agency on Sunday to discuss a nuclear fuel swap proposal that could help ease Tehran’s dispute with the West, Iranian officials and media said.

Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told Iranian state television before his meeting with Yukiya Amano of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that their talks would be “decisive and detailed.”

Iranian officials in the Vienna delegation confirmed to Reuters the two men had met but they gave no more information.

“The IAEA…can play a more constructive role,” Mottaki said in his earlier comments. “We believe the fuel swap can create multilateral trust.”

Iran, the world’s fifth-largest oil exporter, says its nuclear program is entirely peaceful and not intended for military use.

The West believes it is trying to make an atomic bomb and Washington is seeking support from fellow UN Security Council veto holders Russia and China for a fourth round of sanctions on Tehran.

Iran’s senior nuclear official Ali Akbar Salehi said on Friday Mottaki would hold talks with all 15 members of the UN Security Council over the nuclear standoff.

Tehran says it is prepared to swap its low-level enriched uranium for higher-grade fuel enriched abroad — a move which would help address fears about Iran’s enrichment activities — but that this must happen on Iranian soil.

In October Iran agreed in principle to send low-enriched uranium abroad for more processing, but then said the swap should take place inside its territory and simultaneously.

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