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Iran: UN Nuclear Board 'Deplores' Lack Of Full Cooperation

  • Don Hill

Prague, 18 June 2004 (RFE/RL) -- The UN nuclear watchdog's governing board unanimously adopted a resolution today "deploring" Iran's lack of full cooperation in disclosing the extent and details of its nuclear program.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) adopted the resolution, co-sponsored by France, Britain, and Germany. The text does not threaten to report Iran to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions, but does say "Iran's cooperation has not been as full, timely, and proactive as it should have been."

It calls for Iran to amend its behavior, but sets no deadline for compliance.

IAEA Director-General Muhammad el-Baradei said after the meeting that the process with Iran must soon move to a close.

"The board made it very clear that they expect these issues to be closed in the next few months," el-Baradei said. "I've said before that for the integrity of the process, we need to bring the issue of Iran's program to a close in the next few months and the board fully subscribed to that."

He said the Iranian delegation used conciliatory language in the meeting.

"The board also expressed full confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the inspection process, including expression of confidence by the Iranian delegation, something which I appreciate," el-Baradei said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi rejected the resolution as politically motivated, but said Tehran will meet its commitments to the IAEA.

Kenneth Brill, the U.S. ambassador to the IAEA, praised the resolution but said Washington believes Iran has violated its international nonproliferation commitments and should be reported to the Security Council.

Yesterday, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said Iran might resume its enrichment of uranium, suspended last year, if the IAEA passed an unacceptable resolution.

The Iranian president also accused Britain, France, and Germany of collaborating with the United States, which alleges that Iran is secretly trying to develop the capability to produce nuclear weapons. He said Iran might reconsider its relations with the three European powers in the wake of any critical resolution.

Britain, France, and Germany -- all of which have trade relations with Iran -- pressed for a resolution that not only "deplores" Iran's inadequate cooperation, but calls on Iran to end "all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities." Concern had been expressed about two dual-use programs that could help Tehran acquire a weapons development capability.

One is Tehran's planned construction of a heavy-water nuclear reactor near the central city of Arak. The other activity is conversion of uranium into uranium hexaflouride -- a gas that can be processed in centrifuges to yield enriched uranium.

Enriched uranium can be used as a fuel for producing nuclear power or to build nuclear weapons.

Evidence that Iran is pursuing both programs is contained in a report submitted by IAEA investigators to the agency's governing board this month. The IAEA's board has been meeting in Vienna this week to formulate a response to the findings.

Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and is bound by it to cooperate fully with IAEA inspectors. If Tehran fails to do so, the IAEA has the power to refer its concerns to the United Nations -- a measure that could ultimately lead to the Security Council imposing sanctions.
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