IAEA: No New Discoveries On Iran Nuclear Programme
No New Discoveries On Iran’s Nuclear Programme In Past Six Months – IAEA Chief
As the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency prepares to assess Iran’s compliance with its non-proliferation obligations, the agency’s chief says there have been no discoveries in the past six months to substantiate claims that Tehran is secretly working toward building a nuclear bomb.
The 35-member Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), at its next meeting starting 28 February at its Vienna headquarters, will review the latest data on Iran’s nuclear programme after revelations in 2003 that Tehran had for many years concealed nuclear activities in breach of its legal obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Iran has denied it is pursuing a weapons programme, insisting it is merely seeking to produce energy. IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei will present his latest report to the Board. At the last meeting in November he said the Agency “is not yet in a position to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran.”
In recent interviews with United States media posted on the IAEA web site, Mr. ElBaradei said that over the past six months there had not been “much development, neither as a result of our inspections or as a result of intelligence” on the Iranian issue.
“If I look at the big picture, there is no enrichment in Iran, and this is quite satisfactory, and I hope it keeps this way until we reach an agreement,” he added of the production of enriched uranium, an ingredient for nuclear weapons.
He said the only way to end the crisis and avoid confrontation was for the US to get involved in talks which Britain, France and Germany are holding with Iran, seeking a diplomatic solution.
“I don’t think the Iranian issue will be resolved without the United States putting fully its weight behind the Europeans,” he said.
The upcoming Board meeting will also discuss the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), which last week announced that it already had nuclear weapons and withdrew from six-party talks with the Republic of Korea, China, Japan, the Russian Federation and the United States seeking to end its nuclear weapons programme.
“North Korea and Iran are still the two 800-pound gorillas in the room and not much is happening,” Mr. ElBaradei said in the interviews.
The Board will also consider Mr. ElBaradei’s
appointment for a new four-year term beginning 1 December,
and the Egyptian diplomat, who has already served two terms,
said that despite reported tension with Washington
professional relations with US officials have been good. “I
would hope we would continue to cooperate no matter what,”