Iran hands key N-drawings to UN

Iran has handed over to the UN nuclear watchdog crucial drawings of equipment used in its uranium enrichment programme to help prove it was not seeking to make an atomic bomb.

    Salehi (R) with ElBaradei: Iran will honour its word

    "We revealed all components to the agency, including (original) drawings...so there is nothing which the agency has no information on," Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said in Vienna on Wednesday.

       

    Salehi said Tehran would deliver a letter accepting tougher short-notice nuclear inspections by the IAEA within a matter of days.

       

    A diplomat familiar with the IAEA said delivery of the drawings was significant because they represented the "building blocks of Iran's centrifuge programme" and could help the agency's investigation into the origin of the uranium.

     

    Short-notice inspections

       

    Iran has said it was unable to provide the IAEA with names of the countries of origin of the centrifuge components because it bought them on the black market in the 1980s.

       

    Tehran has repeatedly said it was about to hand over a letter of intent to sign a protocol accepting short-notice inspections, but has yet to do so.

       

    "The letter has been prepared and we are going to hand it over to the IAEA Secretariat," Salehi said. "I would say it's in days."

        

    Salahi said there was no question about Iran's intention to sign.

     

    "The letter has been prepared and we are going to hand it over to the IAEA Secretariat"

    Ali Akbar Salehi
    Iran's ambassador to IAEA

    "We cannot specify exactly the date. But it's certainly going to be before the IAEA board meeting on 20 November because they have to be informed before so they can put it on the agenda," he said.

       

    The main item at the meeting is IAEA chief Muhammad ElBaradei's report on inspections in Iran and Tehran's compliance with an 31 October deadline to make a complete declaration of its nuclear programme.

     

    Tougher inspections

       

    After the board approves Iran's intention to sign the Additional Protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran can sign the document. Tehran has said it will allow the tougher inspections even before parliament ratifies the protocol.

       

    Salehi said Iran had not halted its uranium enrichment activities, which Washington fears are at the heart of a secret atomic weapons programme, but would do so soon.

       

    "It's being studied, but measures are being taken to start this process. (The suspension) hasn't yet started," he said.

        

    Diplomats said there had been disagreement between the Europeans and Iran on what constituted a suspension.

       

    The French, Germans and British want the massive Natanz enrichment plant to halt all operations, whereas Iran wants to only halt its enrichment centrifuges and continue research work.

       

    Salehi said the Europeans and Iranians were close to an agreement on the definition of a suspension and the halt was "not going to be very late in the future". 

    SOURCE: AFP


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