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Iran recognizes only IAEA as nuclear negotiator – president

By RIA Novosti

Tehran : Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Saturday that Iran officially recognizes only the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as a party to talks on Iran’s nuclear program.

The Iranian president made the statement during his meeting with Mohamed ElBaradei, the IAEA director general, who is in Tehran for talks with the country’s leadership on Iran’s controversial uranium enrichment program.

“Iran officially recognizes only the IAEA as a party to talks on the nuclear program. Of course, this does not obstruct our dialogue on different issues with other countries,” the president said.

Several Western countries, particularly the United States, suspect Iran’s nuclear program is geared toward the production of atomic weapons. Iran denies the allegations, saying it intends to use nuclear power purely for electricity generation.

Two sets of UN Security Council sanctions are currently in place against Iran over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment. A further round of more stringent sanctions has so far been blocked by China and Russia.

Ahmadinejad said he hoped the IAEA would not yield to “pressure from powerful states” and would abide by its commitments, meeting legal criteria.

ElBaradei said in turn that the process of resolving disputes over the nuclear program was on the right track and called for active cooperation on all issues.