TEHRAN, Dec 5, IRNA - A recently-released United States intelligence report concluding that there has been no ongoing nuclear weapons programme in Iran since the fall of 2003 tallies with the findings of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency ( IAEA), its Director-General said Tuesday in Vienna, calling for all parties concerned to enter into negotiations.
Mohamed ElBaradei said in a statement that the National Intelligence Estimate "should help to defuse the current crisis," the UN Information Center said in a press release Wednesday.
Iran "still needs to clarify some important aspects of its past and present nuclear activities," he said.
The intelligence should also "prompt Iran to work actively with the IAEA to clarify specific aspects of its past and present nuclear program as outlined in the work. This would allow the Agency to provide the required assurances regarding the nature of the program." Iranian authorities have stated that their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but other countries contend that it is driven by military ambitions.
The country's nuclear program has been a matter of international concern since the discovery in 2003 that it had concealed its nuclear activities for 18 years in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
In light of the new Estimate, Mr. ElBaradei urged all parties - as soon as possible - to enter into negotiations, "which are needed to build confidence about the future direction of Iran's nuclear program" and address the concerns repeatedly expressed by the Security Council.
Talks are also necessary to generate a "comprehensive and durable solution that would normalize the relationship between Iran and the international community," he said.
Last December, the Security Council adopted a resolution banning trade with Iran in all items, materials, equipment, goods and technology which could contribute to the country's enrichment-related, reprocessing or heavy water-related activities, or to the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems. It tightened the measures in March, banning arms sales and expanding the freeze on assets.
This September, Mr. ElBaradei welcomed Iran's agreement on a timeline to address all outstanding issues regarding the country's nuclear program.
NIE has admitted that Iran does not intend to produce nuclear weapons.
Today is the day of victory for the Iranian nation and thank God all plots hatched by the enemies of Iran have been failed, said the president to a large group of local people in Ilam.
The pride of the enemies will never let them confess to their mistakes, he said.
They should be well-aware that the Iranian nation has chosen its path and will never give up even one iota and is to continue it under the wise guidance of its Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and through vigilance, unity and resistance.
In its nuclear stand-off, the Iranian nation realized that any withdrawal in political field would be the last one and if it gave up even one iota they will continue their threats until depriving the nation of its legitimate rights, said the president.
President Ahmadinejad arrived in this western city Wednesday morning beginning his third provincial tour.
Ahmadinejad started the second round of his provincial tours on November 7 aimed at following up the implementation of the projects which had been approved during the first round of his visits to different provinces last year.
During his three-day stay in this western province, the chief executive is scheduled to chair a cabinet session and attend various working groups.
The president took the initiative to visit different provinces since he took office in 2005 in order to bring closer the government to ordinary people.
"In a remarkable about-turn, the collective brains of US intelligence have torn up their previous assertions about Iran's nuclear ambitions," the Financial Times said.
In its editorial, the newspaper described the US National Intelligence Estimate report as a "new realism" that provided an opportunity for a robust diplomatic offensive on Iran that must be seized.
"The US needs to conquer its visceral hostility towards Tehran and come up with carrots." Iran, it suggested, should be offered "security guarantees and economic ties that give it status and an interest in stability in the Middle East."
The Guardian said that the latest compilation of US intelligence was "good news for several reasons" and "should stop the drums of war beating in Washington."
"The NIE drives a coach and horses through the argument that Iran could soon pass the point of no return on a covert programme to acquire the bomb," it said, adding that past statement by the US president "look inconsistent and unreliable."
The daily said that it was obvious what should happen. "Pragmatists in the US and Iran can see the potential rewards on offer." Also the right-wing Times newspaper described the finding as "intelligent intelligence" that upset many assumptions, but like the stance taken by the US and UK governments, insisted that it had not diminished the need to hold Iran to its nuclear commitments.
The Daily Telegraph described the report as "striking victory for Washington's realists - notably Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice - over the hawks."
But like the Times, it advised caution, saying on the face of it, the world might seem a safer place, but in reality, it is "anything but".
Speaking to IRNA, Guenter Meyer of the Johannes Guttenberg University, based in the southwestern German city of Mainz, stressed his "total surprise" to the publishing of the US intelligence report on Iran.
"I think this is really a trend reversal in US-Iran ties because so far the US has done its utmost to portray Iran as negative and aggressive as possible. The realization on part of the US government is emerging that this policy won't get you ahead, especially against the backdrop of stabilizing the situation in Iraq," he added.
Meyer reiterated that any negotiated settlement of the Iranian nuclear dispute had to include US security guarantees for Tehran.
"This would be a decisive prerequisite which could lead to a stabilization in the region," said Meyer who is also President of the International Association for Middle Eastern Studies (IAMES).
The Mideast expert criticized German Chancellor Angela Merkel's support for tougher sanctions against Iran.
"This is a position which under no circumstances will contribute to a peaceful solution in the Persian Gulf region," Meyer emphasized.
"What is needed now is to find a compromise in the question of uranium enrichment in a bid to finally resume direct negotiations with Iran. Here the West has to show also flexibility," said the deputy fraction head Juergen Trittin and Green foreign policy spokeswoman Kerstin Mueller in a press statement.
Pointing to startling retreat made by the US intelligence apparatus on Iran's nuclear program, the Green legislators urged Washington to change its escalation rhetoric towards Iran.
Trittin has repeatedly rejected US and Israeli calls for further sanctions against Iran, while stressing the need for diplomatic talks to finally resolve the dispute over Tehran's nuclear program.
The Green MP has also made clear that the sanction pressure was merely an expression of US and Israeli plans.
He warned that any attempt to force Iran to abandon its uranium enrichment would lead to a "dead-end-street."
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