Iran would be "well advised" to take US President Barack Obama's offer to "engage into substantive negotiations without precondition," International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei told CNN-IBN in an interview published Wednesday. He said he hoped that Thursday's meeting between the Islamic republic and the six world powers would "usher in a comprehensive, meaningful dialogue."
ElBaradei went on to say that Iran's recently revealed uranium enrichment facility is a "setback to the principle of transparency." He specified that Iran was "on the wrong side of the law" as it was meant to inform the UN nuclear watchdog "on the day it was decided to construct the facility."
However, he said that Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akhbar Salehi had told him "there are no centrifuges in the facility, there is no nuclear material, it is simply still just ready in term of cables and construction."
When asked to respond to accusations that he had given Iran an "easy pass" in the past, the IAEA chief said "the idea that we have been soft or hard is absolutely bonkersâ€¦ We cannot just barge into a facility."
In terms of developing atomic weapons, ElBaradei told CNN-IBN that he does not believe Iran to have "an on-going nuclear weapons program." He did, however, concede that Teheran may have "some weaponization studies, as was claimed by the US and others."
Meanwhile, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Thursday's nuclear talks would be a "test" of their respect for Iran's rights.
"This meeting is a test to measure the extent of sincerity and commitment of some countries to law and justice," Ahmadinejad said after a Cabinet meeting Wednesday, according to official IRNA news agency.
AP contributed to this report