TEHRAN, Iran – Iran has taken steps toward reassuring the world its nuclear program is peaceful and wants the U.N. atomic watchdog agency to finish its review, Iran's top nuclear negotiator said Sunday.
Hasan Rowhani (search) made his comments a day before the International Atomic Energy Agency is scheduled to discuss Iran's nuclear program.
"We have two goals ahead of us that we must achieve — one is ending Iran's nuclear dossier with the IAEA board of governors. Iran's dossier has to be completely taken out of the IAEA board of governors' agenda," Rowhani told a meeting of the Experts Assembly, the body empowered to elect or dismiss Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (search).
The other goal, he said, is to have Iran recognized globally as a nuclear country.
Rowhani, who also chairs the Supreme National Security Council (search), did not say when the review should be closed and did not threaten to end Iran's cooperation with the IAEA.
He also reiterated past suggestions that Iran considers a resumption to its uranium enrichment program only a matter of time. Iran temporarily stopped its enrichment program last year as a goodwill gesture of its intent to cooperate with the IAEA.
"There is nothing permanent. We signed the additional protocol ... we voluntarily suspended uranium enrichment, and when to resume is in the hands of our system (the ruling Islamic establishment)," Rowhani said.
"We want Iran to be recognized as a member of the nuclear club, that means Iran to be recognized as a country having the nuclear fuel cycle, and enriching uranium. This is very difficult for the world to accept," he said.
An enrichment program also would be necessary for producing nuclear weapons, which Iran repeatedly has said is not its intent. Low enriched uranium is used as a fuel for electricity generating in nuclear power plants.
The United States maintains Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons and has been seeking a declaration that Iran is in breach of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
Rowhani said Iran's decision to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty's additional protocol and temporarily suspend uranium enrichment "nullified a U.S. conspiracy."
"If we hadn't done so ... definitely our dossier would have been referred to the U.N. Security Council," Rowhani said.
IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said recently that Iran's relations with the U.N. agency had improved considerably over the past year, despite discoveries by IAEA inspectors of traces of radioactive elements and advanced equipment in Iran that could be used to make atomic weapons.
ElBaradei, however, has refused to speculate on how the IAEA's board might react when it convenes in Vienna, Austria, on Monday to discuss Iran's nuclear program.
Iran is hoping a positive declaration from the agency could put the matter to rest and lead to the resumption of trade talks with the European Union.
Rowhani also called for working closely with the European Union to achieve goals of turning Iran into a regional economic and industrial power.
Under a development plan released last year, Iran hopes to become a regional superpower and a base for high technology and scientific know-how by 2025.
"To achieve goals under the 20-year plan, we need technology, and Europe is one possible source of technology. So, we need to have cooperation with Europeans," he said.