IAEA seeks more Iranian compliance

Iran's cooperation with UN nuclear inspectors is "less than satisfactory", the head of the world nuclear watchdog has said.

    Al-Baradai is the head of the nuclear watchdog

    Muhammad al-Baradai, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency

    , said on Monday that Iran

    cannot

    withhold full cooperation indefinitely.

    He said: "We still have a central issue, and that is whether Iran has

    declared all its (uranium) enrichment activities.

    "The way they have been engaging us on this issue has been

    less than satisfactory."

    The United States has long accused Iran of trying to build a

    nuclear weapon under cover of a civilian atomic energy

    programme. Tehran insists it is only interested in generating

    electricity.

    Nuclear weapons?

    Diplomats said the United States would be pushing at

    Vienna talks, expected to last at least several days, for the

    IAEA to set Iran a deadline to cooperate fully.

    "We still have a central issue, and that is whether Iran has

    declared all its (uranium) enrichment activities.

    The way they have been engaging us on this issue has been

    less than satisfactory"

    Muhammad al-Baradai,
    IAEA chief

    Al-Baradai said any deadline would be a matter for the member

    states to decide, but added: "I think everybody would like to

    see this issue brought to a close in the next few

    months... because we cannot go on for ever."

    He highlighted concerns over the detection of traces of

    low-enriched and highly-enriched uranium at nuclear sites in

    Iran, and over Tehran's work with advanced P2 centrifuges.

    "These are two issues where we need accelerated and

    proactive cooperation on the part of Iran," he said.

    Centrifuges are used in the process of enriching, or

    purifying, uranium for use in an atomic reactor or in a nuclear

    weapon.

    US pressure

    Delegates at the meeting will consider a joint draft

    resolution from France, Germany and Britain rebuking Iran for

    lax cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog. But diplomats

    said Washington wanted to go further.

    "The Americans want a deadline," a diplomat from one of the

    35 nations on the IAEA board said. "A deadline would be

    to keep the pressure on Iran."

    Iran's president says Tehran's
    nuclear programme is peaceful  

    Another diplomat said a deadline could be used to force Iran

    to finally keep some of the promises it made to the Europeans in

    October 2003, when Tehran agreed to suspend uranium enrichment

    activities in exchange for peaceful atomic technology.

    Washington would also like a "trigger mechanism" that would

    call for the board to report Iran to the UN Security Council

    for possible sanctions if its cooperation remains sluggish.

    In September 2003, the IAEA passed a resolution setting a 31 Oc

    tober deadline for Iran to submit a complete declaration of

    its nuclear programme. Tehran submitted the declaration on time, al

    though it was later shown to be incomplete.

    Israeli connection

    Last week, the European trio circulated a toughly worded

    draft resolution that "deplores" Iran's failure to fully

    cooperate with the IAEA and urged Tehran to urgently "resolve

    all outstanding questions".

    Iranian negotiators are pushing the Europeans to remove the

    word "deplores" and generally soften the text, which already has

    the support of most of the 35 board members, diplomats said.

    George Bush says Iran wants to
    build a nuclear bomb

    The IAEA's rebuke to Iran comes after the country's ambassador

    to

    Jordan accused Israel of being behind international concerns about it's nuclear programme.

    Speaking in Amman on Sunday, Muhammad Irani said Israel will suffer a "painful" response if it attacks Iranian nuclear installations.

    He added that Israel opposes Iran's "support for the oppressed Palestinian people".

    SOURCE: Agencies


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