Iran confirms barring N-inspection

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator has said UN inspectors are barred from Iran for the time being to show dissatisfaction with a UN resolution on its nuclear activities.

    The IAEA says Iran is cooperating with its probe

    State television reported Hassan

    Rohani, secretary-general of the Supreme National Security

    Council, as saying: "We will set the next date that they can visit Iran."

    Iranian officials had originally said the sudden

    postponement on Friday of a planned visit by inspectors from the

    International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was due to Iran's

    upcoming new year holidays.

    The United States called the suspension of IAEA visits "very

    troubling".

    The IAEA's board of governors on Saturday sharply

    reprimanded Iran for withholding sensitive nuclear information,

    in a resolution that diplomats said left open the option of UN

    sanctions if Tehran did not cooperate.

    UN resolution

    In a meeting in Vienna, the IAEA's 35-nation Board

    of Governors stopped

    short of referring Tehran to the UN Security Council.

    Non-aligned nations wanted to temper the Iran resolution,

    while western nations that insist Iran has been seeking nuclear arms were

    pushing for harsher language.

    Iran says its nuclear programme
    is entirely peaceful

    While the 13-nation non-aligned group dropped most of its objections,

    it pushed through changed wording that effectively defers the threat of

    Security Council action against Iran until the board meets again in June.

    Still, much of the language was critical, reflecting shared concerns by

    most board members about Iran's nuclear activities and its uneven record of

    cooperation with the IAEA.

    The resolution "recognises"

    that the IAEA considers Iran to be cooperating with its probe. And it "welcomes" t

    hat Iran has signed an agreement opening its activities to pervasive

    inspection.

    Iran's nuclear programme

    But it "deplores" recent discoveries of uranium enrichment

    equipment by the inspectors and other suspicious activities not voluntarily

    revealed by Iran.

    It also notes "with concern" that Iran and Libya appeared to have been

    supplied by the same black market network, and that "a number of

    questions", remain unresolved on technologies possessed by Iran that can be

    used to make nuclear weapons.

    Moreover, it notes "with serious concern" that the board still does not

    have "the complete and final picture of Iran's past and present nuclear

    programme", needed by the IAEA to dispel suspicions the Islamic republic

    had a weapons agenda.

    Meanwhile, diplomats said

    Iran's move to freeze inspections would be a

    huge obstacle to the agency's efforts to deliver a judgment by June on the

    nature of Tehran's nuclear past and present.

    "If they really have nothing to hide, it is further against their

    interests" to raise questions about why it is placing their nuclear

    activities off limits to outside perusal, said a diplomat

    .

    SOURCE: Reuters


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