News / Middle East

Clinton: Iran Should Direct Concerns to IAEA

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Iran should be directing its concerns to the International Atomic Energy Agency instead of trying to sway public opinion about its nuclear program.

Clinton said Tuesday Iran "knows the address of the IAEA" and should be sitting down with the international watchdog and providing an answer to its offer regarding a nuclear fuel deal.

Clinton says the U.S., Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany are working intensively on a plan that will "spell out consequences of Iran's defiance."

She says the countries are working to complete an agreement on sanctions, despite the failure of recent talks between the nations to produce anything new.

Earlier, Iran's foreign minister told reporters he is optimistic that Iran and the international community will strike a deal to swap nuclear fuel soon.

Manouchehr Mottaki held talks in Tehran Tuesday with his Brazilian counterpart, Celso Amorim.

Brazil's foreign minister said Iran and the international community must show "flexibility" on a nuclear fuel deal.  

He said he thought the fuel swap deal brokered by the United Nations last year could be revived, but that Iran must guarantee that its nuclear program is not designed for military purposes.

The nuclear deal has been stalled because Iran insists on altering its terms.  It calls for Iran to send its low-level enriched uranium to another country for conversion into fuel for a medical research reactor in Tehran.  Iran has so far refused to accept some terms of the proposal.

The United States is leading a diplomatic push to get Brazil and other U.N. Security Council members to approve a fourth round of sanctions on Iran aimed at curbing its nuclear program.

The United States and its allies accuse Iran of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons.  Iran says its atomic program is for peaceful purposes.

Iran has been pursuing closer relations with Brazil as part of its own diplomatic campaign to prevent new U.N. sanctions.  

Iranian news agencies say Amorim told Iran's parliamentary speaker, Ali Larijani, that new sanctions against Iran would be "negative" and "unfair."

In a previously published version of this story we incorrectly paraphrased a statement made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  We mistakenly reported that she had said that the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany….”are working to complete an agreement on sanctions against Iran by mid-June.”  Secretary Clinton actually said, “We have for some weeks been working intensively with our P5 +1 partners on a new Security Council resolution that will spell out the consequences of Iran’s continued defiance of the Security Council on its nuclear program.  We are very committed to following through and completing that process sometime in the spring.”  VOA regrets the error.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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