MFA urges Iran to resolve issues with P5+1

MFA urges Iran to resolve issues with P5+1
US Secretary of State John Kerry sits in front of German Foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier during talks of foreign ministers from the six powers negotiating with Tehran on its nuclear program.

SINGAPORE -The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has expressed its support for negotiations with Iran, after a UN atomic agency report said that Iran had diluted its entire stock of medium-enriched uranium as required under a November deal with world powers.

MFA said in a statement: "We strongly believe that a negotiated solution is the best way forward. A comprehensive agreement that addresses the concerns of the international community over the nature of Iran's nuclear programme would be in everyone's interest."

"We urge Iran to use the limited window of opportunity over the next four months to quickly resolve all outstanding issues with the P5+1."

ljessica@sph.com.sg



Iran complying with nuclear deal, says UN watchdog

AFP

VIENNA - Iran has diluted its entire stock of medium-enriched uranium as required under a November deal with world powers, the UN atomic agency said in its latest report seen by AFP Monday.

Even as talks to reach a nuclear deal with Iran were extended beyond an initial July 20 deadline, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Teheran was standing by its international commitments.

As agreed under a so-called Joint Plan of Action reached in November, the Islamic Republic has cut half of its stock of 20-per cent enriched uranium down to five-per cent purity. The rest was being converted into uranium oxide.

Teheran also refrained from enriching above the five-per cent level at any of its nuclear facilities, the IAEA report said.

Iran and world powers have been trying to reach a crucial nuclear deal to alleviate international fears that Teheran is seeking a nuclear weapon.

Early Saturday, they agreed to give themselves four more months after marathon talks in Vienna. Iran has, however, always insisted its nuclear programme was solely for peaceful purposes.

Uranium must be enriched to 90 per cent to make an atomic bomb but 20-per cent purity levels are just a short step from producing weapons-grade material.

Under the November interim deal, Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany agreed that Teheran would freeze certain nuclear activities for six months in return for some sanctions relief.

The West's goal is to expand the time needed for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon, giving the world ample warning of any such "breakout" push.

Talks were due to resume in the coming weeks, with November 24 as the new deadline for a lasting deal, diplomats said in Vienna.

Lead negotiator and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton spoke of "tangible progress" in the talks so far but noted that "significant gaps on some core issues" remained.

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