Six countries hold meet in Germany on Iran nuclear program
IAEA Chief ElBaradei said Wednesday that the threat of Iran's nuclear program is 'hyped'.
Six countries trying to address concerns about Iran's nuclear program met in Germany on Wednesday, but the German government said it has received no official word yet on new proposals that Tehran is pledging to make.
The closed-door meeting took place near Frankfurt and involved political directors - Foreign Ministry officials below ministerial level - from the U.S., France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany.
The six stressed that the way remains open for a negotiated solution, a high-ranking German diplomat said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment publicly.
Referring to comments earlier this week by Iran's top nuclear negotiator, he called on Tehran to agree to talks before the UN General Assembly meets later this month.
On Tuesday, Iran's main nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, told reporters his nation would present new proposals and would open talks in order to ease common concerns in the international arena. He gave no details.
German Foreign Ministry spokesman Jens Ploetner acknowledged media reports of Jalili's statement, but said such offers must be formally presented to the governments involved before they could be considered.
"So far we have not received any such communication from the Iranian government through official channels," Ploetner told reporters in Berlin.
"Consequently...from our point of view nothing has changed."
"We hope that the press reports will be followed by something of substance at an official level."
Western nations and others worry Iran is moving toward development of nuclear warheads. But Iranian leaders say the country only seeks reactors to produce electricity.
The German diplomat said the six countries would meet again on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York later this month to review developments.
That would dovetail with U.S. President Barack Obama's deadline for Iran to agree to nuclear talks or risk harsher sanctions. Last year, Tehran was offered economic incentives in exchange for suspending uranium enrichment, but Iran's leaders responded by saying they would never give up control of the production of nuclear fuel.
In its latest report, the International Atomic Energy Agency said it has pressed Iran to clarify the purpose of its uranium enrichment activities and reassure the world that it's not trying to build an atomic weapon.
The agency acknowledged, however, that Iran has been producing nuclear fuel at a slower rate and has allowed U.N. inspectors broader access to its main nuclear complex in the southern city of Natanz and to a reactor in Arak.
ElBaradei: Threat of Iran nuclear program is 'hyped' The head of the UN nuclear watchdog agency is quoted as saying he thinks that in many ways the threat posed by Iran has been "hyped."
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, published by a group of prominent scientists, interviewed International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei.
The magazine quotes ElBaradei as saying there is no concrete evidence that Tehran has an ongoing nuclear weapons program. Despite that, ElBaradei says, "many people are talking about how Iran's nuclear program is the greatest threat to the world."
It quotes the Nobel Peace Prize laureate as saying: "In many ways, I think the threat has been hyped."