Iran nuclear accord 'partly' responds to IAEA demands: Ashton

17th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

The new agreement under which Iran would ship the bulk of its enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for nuclear fuel "partly" responds to IAEA demands, EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said Monday.

"The declaration you have seen today is a response to a request from the IAEA. From my reading of it, it partly addresses the issue they have raised," she told a news conference and the EU-Latin America summit in Madrid.

"The IAEA offer was a goodwill gesture. It was the recognition... of the right for a state to have civil nuclear power," she added.

"It was not an attempt to address the underlying issue, which is still the issue that we wish to formally discuss with Iran, which is the nuclear weapon intention issue."

"Where we are at the present time, they have my phone number," she added.

"I will wait to see whether to see if they want to discuss nuclear with me. If they do, we will discuss it, if not we will continue what we are doing."

Earlier Monday the foreign ministers of Iran, Turkey and Brazil signed an agreement that commits Tehran to depositing 1,200 kilograms (2,640 pounds) of low enriched uranium (LEU) in Turkey in return for fuel for a research reactor.

Western powers have been sceptical of the deal, which was spearheaded by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in a last-ditch effort to avoid a new round of UN sanctions against Iran.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet on Tuesday in Madrid on the sidelines of the EU-Latin America summit, according to the Brazilian president's agenda.

The meeting is scheduled for 1630 GMT.

The two leaders met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday in Tehran to negotiate the agreement over Iran's nuclear activities.

© 2010 AFP

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