United Nations: Iran has declared all its atomic sites to the UN nuclear watchdog, Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Thursday, countering suspicions that it may have undisclosed facilities.
Mottaki spoke at a UN news conference as Iran held talks with six world powers in Geneva, centering on a new nuclear site near the city of Qom whose existence was only officially revealed last week.
“Whatever Iran has as nuclear sites has been announced to the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), and the only case that is under construction is Qom and we also announced that,” Mottaki said through an interpreter.
Media reports quoted Iran’s nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi as telling Iranian television this week he was preparing a letter for the IAEA on the location of the Qom facility “and others.”
The New York Times said on Thursday the comment raised hopes Iran might reveal more about its nuclear activities.
However, a transcript issued by Iran’s Press TV quoted Salehi as saying: “We will soon write a letter to them (the IAEA) about the location of the facility and other issues.”
Western countries suspect Iran is aiming to develop nuclear weapons, something long denied by Tehran, which says it seeks only to generate civil nuclear power.
Western leaders accused Tehran last week of illicitly hiding the Qom uranium enrichment facility until it notified the IAEA on 21 September.
But Mottaki restated Iran’s contention that it had informed the UN agency before it was obliged to.
The Iranian minister also reaffirmed Iran’s willingness to boost its talks with the major powers - conducted in Geneva by senior diplomats - to summit level.
“As we told earlier, the Islamic Republic of Iran has the readiness to enhance the level of such talks up to the level of a summit meeting,” he said.
Mottaki was apparently referring to remarks on Wednesday by Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who proposed an organized structure for the discussions, with three committees dealing with different issues, and an “assembly” of heads of state of the countries involved as the top decision-making body.
While Western countries want to focus on Iran’s nuclear activities, Tehran has said its right to enrich uranium is not up for discussion and wants the talks to cover a broad range of security issues.
Earlier on Thursday, in a U.S. radio interview, Mottaki disputed Western reports that the Qom facility would hold only 3,000 uranium-enriching centrifuges - less than the tens of thousands need for power generation but enough to make fuel for a weapon.
Mottaki, who is not believed to be among the architects of Iranian nuclear policy, told National Public Radio that “some time ago” he had heard a figure of 7,000 centrifuges.
The Geneva meeting ended with participants saying they had held productive talks, agreeing on limited transparency gestures by Tehran and another meeting later this month.