Iran ready to cooperate with IAEA

Iran's foreign minister has said that his country is willing to cooperate with the UN's nuclear watchdog agency, though its nuclear power programme would go ahead.

    Kamal Kharazi would not compromise over Iran's nuclear power station plans

    "We are trying and we are determined to cooperate (with the International Atomic Energy Agency)," Kamal Kharazi told ABC television on Sunday.

    "The problem is that United States administration asked us to

    stop enrichment activities in Iran. While it is legal ... and

    nothing is wrong as long as it is under the auspices of the IAEA and

    the inspection regime," he said.

    Highly enriched uranium can be used to make nuclear weapons,

    which Washington accuses Tehran of planning to do.

    Kharazi said Iran was ready to sign a new protocol with the IAEA

    to ease US concerns.

    "If we sign the additional protocol, we want to make sure that we

    can continue with enrichment facilities to produce fuel needed for

    our power plants," he said.

    "We want to make sure that this is enough and is going to solve

    our problems and remove all suspicions."

    Colin Powell plays the unproven WMD card

    Powell not satisfied

    US Secretary of State Colin Powell told ABC that Iran's signing

    the protocol "in and of itself isn't enough."

    "We have to have all questions with respect to their nuclear

    weapons programs answered," he said.

    "Over the past year, the evidence that has come forward, that is

    now before the IAEA, has made it clear to the world that there is

    something going on in Iran with respect to nuclear weapons

    development that goes beyond their nuclear power industry."

    IAEA deadline

    The IAEA has given Iran until 31 October to prove it has no secret nuclear weapons programme, as the United States alleges.

    It has also called on the country to cease uranium enrichment,

    amid the discovery by IAEA inspectors in Iran of traces of highly

    enriched uranium - traces that Iran insists were imported along

    with equipment from overseas.

    Putin and Bush met this week to
    discuss Iran among other issues

    US President George Bush has called on Tehran to be forthcoming with information on its nuclear programmes and said "it is in our national interests to make sure that Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon."

    The US is also pressing fellow nuclear power Russia not to sign an accord that would allow Iran's first nuclear power plant – which is being built by Russia – to go online.

    Inspectors are expected to arrive in Tehran on Thursday for further inspections and talks with Iranian officials.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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