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El Baradei: Iran nuclear swap “a good agreement”

Mohamed El Baradei, former head of the UN nuclear watchdog agency IAEA, told FRANCE 24 in an exclusive interview that Iran’s decision to send uranium to Turkey for enrichment is "a good agreement" that could pave the way for broader negotiations.


Iran’s agreement to ship a portion of its low enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for nuclear fuel for its Tehran reactor “is a precursor to full-scope negotiations with world powers,” Mohamed El Baradei, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) told FRANCE 24 on Tuesday, during a visit to Cameroon’s capital Yaounde.

I believe it's quite a good agreement […] I've always said that the only way to resolve the Iranian issue is by building trust.” El Baradei said.  

“Moving half or more than half of Iran's nuclear material out of the country is a confidence-building measure that could defuse the crisis, and give the US and the West the space to negotiate.” 

The deal, brokered by Brazil and Turkey, has drawn cautious responses from the international community. Western powers maintained pressure on Tehran to co-operate with the United Nations over its nuclear programme, saying Iran needed to do more than just accept what amounted to a confidence-building agreement.
On Tuesday, Washington said that major powers, including China and Russia, had reached agreement on a tough draft UN sanctions resolution against Iran over its nuclear programme.


Dismissing such sceptical reactions, El Baradei said "the only way to engage Iran is to negotiate with Iran".

“We have been waiting for this deal as a precursor to full negotiations; this is the only way to go in my view, “he noted.

"Iran is prepared to talk, I know Barack Obama is prepared to talk. I base that on my discussions a few months ago with both [Iranian President] Mahmud Ahmadinejad and [US President] Barack Obama. Of course, nobody wants to give away everything before talks, but I do think both are committed to negotiations. And I think that now, with this agreement, the conditions are absolutely ripe to engage in full-fledged negotiations.” the former IAEA chief said.


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