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Iran Defends Nuclear Program In Face Of UN Criticism

Vienna, 8 March 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Iran says it has been providing full disclosure of its nuclear program to the UN watchdog agency and has been abiding by agreements in force.

Speaking at the start of today's International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) board of governors meeting in Vienna, head of the UN agency Muhammad el-Baradei said that Iran had failed last October to mention that it had designs for advanced centrifuges capable of producing enriched uranium for use in a nuclear reactor or in an atomic bomb.

El-Baradei said that Iran and Libya were both guilty of violating the nuclear treaty over many years, but while Libya has agreed to reveal its former nuclear secrets, progress on clearing out doubts about Iran's program depends on Tehran's continuing cooperation.

"I think the board will be happy that the issue [Iran's nuclear activities] will no longer be on the agenda once we have completed our work on verifying past nuclear activities. So, that depends very much on our success in resolving outstanding issues, it depends very much on the kind of cooperation we hopefully will continue to receive from Iran," el-Baradei said.

Pirooz Hosseini, Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, said that what was announced last October "was based on our then obligations" under the nuclear treaty.

In December 2003, Iran signed an additional protocol to the treaty allowing for wider inspections.