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Iran: IAEA To Discuss Tehran's Failure To Comply With Agreement

Vienna, 18 June 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meets today in Vienna to discuss what it says is Iran's failure to comply with the agency's nuclear safeguards agreement. The agreement aims to prevent the diversion of nuclear materials and resources to secret nuclear-weapons programs. The U.S. has accused Iran of developing nuclear weapons, a charge Iran has strongly denied.

The IAEA, the UN's nuclear watchdog, and the European Union and Russia are trying to persuade Iran to sign a protocol which would allow more intrusive, short-notice IAEA inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities to see if Iran's nuclear program is only for civilian use.

Ali Salehi, Iran's representative to the IAEA, said again yesterday that Iran will not sign the Additional Protocol unless a ban on Iran's access to nuclear technology is lifted.

IAEA spokesman Mark Gwozdecky said the agency's 35-nation board of governors will discuss Iran's nuclear program, but "might not reach a decision on issuing a resolution of concern or merely a statement" from Director-General Mohammad el-Baradei until tomorrow or the next day.

The spokesman said every nation will have its say in the debate on how to react to Iran's failure to comply with nuclear safeguards.

The meeting in Vienna comes amid continuing pro-reform demonstrations in Tehran.

Hundreds of Iranians stayed in their cars and sounded their horns last night in traffic jams around Tehran University, the focus of the protests. Reports say there was no sign of Islamist militants who used clubs and bars to disperse pro-reform demonstrators on 13 June.

Interior Ministry spokesman Jahanbakhsh Khanjani told the student news agency ISNA that the situation around the university is calm and police are in full control.