Thursday, October 22, 2009
Iranian officials involved in nuclear talks temper optimism over draft agreement; Tehran reserves right to shun final agreement, Western media exerting pressure on Iran, one official says
Following the dramatic reports of a draft agreement on Iran's nuclear program, Iranian officials tempered the optimism by declaring that Tehran reserves the right to refrain from signing the final agreement.According to understandings reached between Iran and the United States, Russia and France, Tehran will be handing over the low-grade uranium it possesses to the great powers, in exchange for nuclear fuel. However, Iranian officials made it clear the agreement is still far from being a done deal.
The earlier optimism has been tempered by the Iranian broadcasting authority's website, which quoted Wednesday Iranian officials who are part of the delegation engaged in talks on Iran's nuclear plan. The representatives stressed that for the time being the Islamic Republic only agreed to the draft agreement.
"The atmosphere created by media outlets in the West is meant to exert psychological pressure and force Iran to adopt a position," one source was quoted as saying. "Tehran will be taking decisions only in line with its national interests, and with no regard to these pressures.
Earlier, US Secretary of State Clinton made it clear that American demands quick action on Tehran's part in implementing the draft agreement on its nuclear program.
"In particular, prompt action is needed on implementing the plan to use Iran's own low-enriched uranium to refuel the Tehran research reactor," Clinton said.
On Wednesday, Diplomats said that the draft deal, worked out by IAEA Chief ElBaradei, contained the powers' call for Iran to send some 75% of its enriched uranium reserve abroad before the end of this year for conversion into fuel for a Tehran reactor producing medical isotopes.
Yitzhak Benhorin and Reuters contributed to the report