"Iran should respond promptly to ease concerns over its nuclear program"
By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
The international community is growing impatient and Iran should respond promptly and positively to an international proposal to ease concerns over its nuclear program, the head of the UN's nuclear monitoring agency said Thursday.
"The international community is getting a bit impatient and the sooner they can provide a response the better for everybody," International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei said in Ankara, Turkey. "I think a negotiated solution to the Iranian issue is a win-win situation for everybody."
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana meets privately with Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, Thursday night in Brussels, Belgium, to try to get a response to an incentives package offered to Iran.
"Iran is studying the offer," ElBaradei said, adding that the Iranian response should reflect a consensus of the Iranian administration. "They need to make sure that everyone in Iran is on board."
The package is designed to defuse the standoff by persuading Teheran to halt its uranium enrichment program and return to negotiations. Western powers concerned that Iran is aiming to build nuclear weapons are seeking assurances that Iran's program is only for the generation of nuclear power, as Teheran says.
Western diplomats have threatened to punish Iran through possible UN Security Council sanctions unless Tehran stops enrichment activities and agrees to talks by July 12, when foreign ministers of the five permanent Security Council nations and Germany meet in Paris.
ElBaradei said he hopes Iran will respond soon to the offer.
"The Middle East cannot stand another crisis," ElBaradei said. "No effort will be spared to find, to create political conditions to reach a political solution to the Iranian issue as soon as possible."
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