United Nations and Iranian officials have been secretly negotiating a deal to persuade world powers to lift sanctions and allow Tehran to retain the bulk of its nuclear program in return for cooperation with U.N. inspectors.

According to a draft document seen by The Times of London, the 13-point agreement was drawn up in September by Mohamed ElBaradei, the directorgeneral of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in an effort to break the stalemate over Iran’s nuclear program before he stands down at the end of this month.

The IAEA denied the existence of the document, which was leaked to The Times by one of the parties alarmed at the contents. Its disclosure was made as the agency warned that Iran could be hiding multiple secret nuclear sites.

Despite the assessment, diplomats believed that ElBaradei was hoping to agree the outline of a deal with Tehran that he could present to the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany as a solution to the impasse.

It was thought that ElBaradei was anxious to secure his legacy after infighting over his perceived weakness in dealing with Iran.

The plan would require the U.N. Security Council to revoke the three existing sanctions and five resolutions ordering Iran to halt its uranium enrichment — an unthinkable development at a time when the West is focused on how to impose more, not fewer, sanctions on Iran.

Continue reading at The Times of London