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. IAEA chief renews call for time-out in Iran nuclear standoff
BRUSSELS, Feb 12 (AFP) Feb 12, 2007
International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei renewed on Monday a call for Iran to stop enriching uranium while the international community suspends sanctions against Tehran.

"I see no reason why both Iran and international community could not agree together in a simultaneous way on Iran to suspend during the duration of the negotiation its enrichment activities and the international community suspend the application of sanctions," he told journalists in Brussels.

Talks between Iran, three European nations -- Germany, Britain and France -- and the International Atomic Energy Agency collapsed last year, which led to limited United Nations sanctions being imposed.

"Let us just try to see whether we can in three months time, or four months time, find a solution through negotiations," ElBaradei said after meeting Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt.

"Iran wouldn't lose anything by agreeing temporarily to take a time out."

The West, led by the United States, accuses Iran of seeking to acquire an atomic bomb through its nuclear programme, which Tehran insists is solely for peaceful purposes.

Amid rising tensions between the US and Iran, ElBaradei warned that a military attack on the Islamic republic would be counter-productive and would only encourage the country to work harder on its nuclear programme.

"I don't see a military solution to the Iranian issue," he said. "It would be completely counter-productive, because if you bomb any facility in Iran, I think it would create an opposite reaction."

"All the Iranians will get together and make the development of the nuclear programme a priority."

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