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IAEA Board Opens Emergency Iran Debate

(CTK) 2 February 2006 -- The 35-country board of governors of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog is opening a special session at its Vienna headquarters to debate reporting Iran to the UN Security Council over that country's nuclear program.

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has meanwhile scheduled an emergency cabinet meeting for this evening in an apparent effort to respond to any news from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) gathering, dpa reported, citing the Khabar news network.

An IAEA spokesman has said that the meeting of the IAEA governing board is not expected to vote on the issue today, and the session is expected to continue on 3 February.

The Iranian cabinet is scheduled to convene later today in Bushehr, a southern port which is also the site of an Iranian nuclear plant whose construction Western governments sought to block. Russian suppliers have been instrumental in that nuclear plant's construction.

President Ahmadinejad Defiant

Ahmadinejad spoke defiantly today, repeating that his country will not be intimidated by the threat of its case being taken to the UN Security Council and accusing the West of seeking to constrain Iran's scientific development, Khabar reported.

" Neither the government nor the people will ever make any compromise over its nuclear program despite all the pressures by the West," Ahmadinejad was quoted by dpa as saying.

President Ahmadinejad (file photo)

Iran has threatened to launch industrial-scale uranium-enrichment work and halt voluntary cooperation with the IAEA if it is referred to the Security Council, which has the power to impose punitive sanctions.

Uranium enrichment can produce fuel for nuclear reactors and also material for nuclear weapons.

The five permanent, veto-holding members of the Security Council -- the United States, Russia, France, China, and Britain -- agreed on 31 January that the IAEA should refer Iran to the Security Council because of doubts over whether the Iranian nuclear program is wholly peaceful.

Russia's chief IAEA delegate, Grigory Berdennikov, has said that Moscow has no objection to informing the Security Council concerning Iran's nuclear activities.

IAEA Briefing

The IAEA has rebuked Iran over its failure to disclose some aspects of its nuclear program, accusing officials in Tehran of not meeting obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

An IAEA report released to governing board members ahead of today's meeting describes evidence of links between the Iranian military and the country's nuclear program, "The New York Times" has reported. The IAEA report claims that Iran's Green Salt Project ("green salt" is a reference to uranium tetrafluoride), has done work on uranium processing, high explosives, and missile-warhead design.

In the 1 February report, the IAEA for the first time links a purportedly civilian fuel-production program with the military, according to "The New York Times."

The IAEA report is based partially on intelligence from the United States -- specifically a laptop computer secured in Iran. Some of the information also came from a document provided by Tehran that described procedures that only have a weaponization application.

According to the IAEA report, Tehran consistently dismisses the agency's allegations as "baseless," while it promises later "clarifications."

(compiled from RFE/RL and agency reports)

The IAEA Resolution

The IAEA Resolution

On 2 February, the 35-member Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency began discussing a draft resolution aimed at referring the matter of Iran's nuclear program to the United Nations Security Council. The key section of the resolution is Section 1, which states that the Board of Governors:

Underlines that outstanding questions can best be resolved and confidence built in the exclusive peaceful nature of Iran's program by Iran responding positively to the calls for confidence building measures which the Board has made on Iran, and in this context deems it necessary for Iran to:

  • reestablish full and sustained suspension of all enrichment-related and processing activities, including research and development, to be verified by the Agency;
  • reconsider the construction of a research reactor moderated by heavy water;
  • ratify promptly and implement in full Additional Protocol;
  • pending ratification, continue to act in accordance with the provisions of the Additional Protocol with Iran signed on 18 December 2003;
  • implement the transparency measures, as requested by the Director General, which extend beyond the former requirements of the Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol, and include such access to individuals, documentation relating to procurement, dual use equipment, certain military-owned workshops and research and development as the Agency may request in support of its ongoing investigations.

THE COMPLETE TEXT: To read the complete text of the resolution, click here.

THE COMPLETE PICTURE: RFE/RL's complete coverage of controversy surrounding Iran's nuclear program.

An annotated timeline of Iran's nuclear program.