Iran Agrees to Cooperate With UN Nuclear Watchdog

Though cooperation does not mean that Iran will give up its rights to a peaceful nuclear energy program, Iran's new envoy to the IAEA said.

Iran's new envoy to the UN nuclear agency said on Thursday he would cooperate with it in order to "overcome existing issues once and for all", potentially signaling a more flexible approach from Tehran's new administration.

But Ambassador Reza Najafi, at his first board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), also repeated Iran's position that it would not give up what it sees as its right to a peaceful nuclear energy program.

Iran is at loggerheads with Western powers in particular, who fear its nuclear program may be designed to give it the capacity to build nuclear weapons. Tehran denies the accusation.

"We are looking forward to working closely with the Director General (IAEA chief Yukiya Amano) and his team in the coming days," Najafi said in a statement to the UN agency's board in Vienna.

Western diplomats welcomed his statement as a change in tone but cautioned it remained to be seen whether there would also be a change in substance following the election of President Hassan Rohani to replace conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Rohani said on Tuesday that the time for resolving Iran's nuclear dispute with the West was limited, and urged the world to seize the opportunity of his election.

He said he would meet with the foreign ministers from some of the six powers - Russia, China, France, Britain, the United States and Germany - when he attends the UN General Assembly in New York this month.