Iran calls time on UN nuclear probe

Iran has called for the UN's atomic watchdog to finish a 13-month probe of its nuclear programme and take the Islamic republic off the agency's agenda.

    Ruhani (L) has said Iran is innocent of any wrongdoing

    Supreme National Security Council chief Hasan Ruhani said on Sunday it was time for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to confirm Iran's innocence of any wrongdoing. 

    "The case concerning Iran's peaceful nuclear activities should be completely closed at the IAEA board of governors and removed from its agenda," he was quoted as saying by state television. 

    Ruhani was speaking ahead of a meeting in Vienna of the IAEA board of governors, which will consider a new report by the agency showing Iran failed to report sensitive research involving advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges and potentially arms-related experiments. 

    He said the world must accept the Islamic Republic's right to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. 

    Investigation

    The IAEA launched an intense inspection process after IAEA chief Muhammad al-Baradai visited Tehran in February last year. 

    The investigation began after an exiled opposition group
    accused Tehran the previous August of hiding an underground
    enrichment facility and other sites from the UN watchdog.

     

    The IAEA board is unlikely to send
    Iran's case to the Security Council

    In Vienna, diplomats on the IAEA's 35-nation board said they were working a draft IAEA resolution on Iran circulated by the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. They said it would require some fine-tuning but was something that could eventually by approved by the entire board. 

    "(The draft) is a text that is supposed to represent the views of many countries," a Western diplomat who follows the IAEA closely told Reuters about the resolution, adding that it combined "some criticism and some praise". 
     
    Nuclear power 

    The United States accuses Iran of running a secret nuclear arms programme in violation of the nuclear Non-Proliferation
    Treaty (NPT) and has called for the IAEA board to declare Tehran in "non-compliance" and report it to the UN Security Council. That could lead to sanctions. 

    "The world should accept Iran's membership of the atomic club."

    Hasan Ruhani,


    Supreme National Security Council chief

    Iran insists its network of nuclear facilities are geared to produce atomic power, not bombs. 

    "The world should accept Iran's membership of the atomic club," Ruhani said in remarks to the annual meeting of Iran's Assembly of Experts - a body of senior clerics who elect and supervise the performance of Iran's Supreme Leader. 

    Ruhani said Tehran's agreement late last year to sign the NPT Additional Protocol allowing inspectors to carry out more intrusive, snap checks of its nuclear facilities had thwarted US efforts to have Iran referred to the Security Council. 

    Diplomats agree the IAEA board is unlikely to send Iran's case to the Security Council, but they expect it to pass a resolution noting Tehran's failure to disclose activities such as research on advanced uranium centrifuge designs. 

    Asked if Iran would remain a top item on the IAEA board's agenda for the foreseeable future, a Western diplomat told Reuters: "That's a given. There are too many unanswered questions."

    SOURCE: Reuters


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