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Nuke Issue: UN Says Ball Now In Iran's Court

UN Body Finds Iran’s Nuclear Treaty Breaches Within Security Council Competence

The head of the United Nations agency entrusted with curbing the spread of nuclear weapons has called on Iran to work with the international community to provide assurances that its programme is for peaceful purposes after its previous treaty breaches were found to be within the competence of the Security Council.

“The ball now is with Iran to continue to co-operate with the Agency as early as possible,” International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei said after the IAEA’s Board of Governors found Iran in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) because of its concealment of its activities over an extended period of time.

In a resolution passed on Saturday, the Board did not immediately defer the issue to the Security Council, which can impose sanctions, and Mr. ElBaradei said he was encouraged by this since it gave time for diplomacy and negotiation.

“So all of us need to explore this window of opportunity, from now until November, to make sure that we are moving toward a comprehensive settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue,” he told journalists at IAEA headquarters in Vienna following the Board’s vote, which left the issue open until it next meeting in November.

“I was assured to hear Iran here saying that they would continue to co-operate with the Agency,” he added, calling on the country to resume negotiations with the European Union (EU), which has been seeking a diplomatic solution for the past year.

Iran's nuclear programme has been a matter of concern since 2003, when the IAEA determined that the country had for almost two decades concealed its nuclear activities in breach of the NPT. Iran insists the programme is for peaceful energy production only but some countries, including the United States, say is part of an effort to produce nuclear weapons.

In its resolution, the Board found that Iran’s many failures and breaches of its obligations to comply with its NPT Safeguards constituted non compliance, adding “the resulting absence of confidence that Iran’s nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes have given rise to questions that are within the competence of the Security Council.” It voiced uncertainty over Iranian motives for its concealment.

It called on Iran to implement transparency measures, including access to individuals and documentation relating to procurement, dual use equipment, certain military owned workshops and research and development locations, and to re-establish full and sustained suspension of all enrichment-related activity. Enriched uranium can be used either for the peaceful production of nuclear energy or for making nuclear weapons.

It urged the country to reconsider the construction of a research reactor moderated by heavy water and to promptly ratify and implement in full the Additional Protocol to NPT which affords inspectors greater rights of access and added authority to use advanced technologies to track that nuclear materials are not being diverted and that there are no clandestine, proscribed nuclear activities in a state.

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