The International Atomic Energy Agency says a new U.S. intelligence report saying Iran stopped a secret nuclear weapons program four years ago confirms what the U.N. agency has been saying for years.
A senior IAEA official said Tuesday in Vienna that the report validates agency statements that inspectors have found no secret nuclear program, and that there is no imminent danger, leaving time for negotiations.
IAEA Chief Mohamed ElBaradei says the report should help defuse the current crisis. ElBaradei urged all parties to the nuclear dispute to enter into negotiations without delay.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki says Tehran welcomes the new U.S. report, saying it corrects an unrealistic view of Iran's activities. Other Iranian officials said the report supports Tehran's insistence that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.
The U.S. intelligence assessment says Iran would likely be capable of producing enough enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon some time between 2010 and 2015.
Russian President Vladimir Putin told Iran's top nuclear negotiator that he expects Tehran to make its nuclear program transparent and allow it to remain under the control of the IAEA.
Mr. Putin met with Iranian official Saeed Jalili Tuesday in Moscow. Prior to the meeting, a Kremlin aide, Sergei Prikhodko, said the Russian leader had a 40-minute telephone conversation with U.S. President George Bush regarding the nuclear issue. He did not elaborate.
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the French Foreign Ministry, Pascale Andreani, says France continues to support sanctions against Iran, saying the country has not respected its international obligations.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak says Israel believes Iran is still trying to develop nuclear weapons - despite the new U.S. intelligence report. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says his country will continue to work with Washington to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.