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Nuclear Watchdog Has Hit 'Dead End' With Iran

UN Nuclear Watchdog Has Hit 'Dead End' With Iran, Says Chief

New York, Nov 26 2009 1:10PM The head of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today called on Iran to fully engage with the body to resolve outstanding issues related to its nuclear programme, citing no movement in over a year on the matter.

Director General Mohamed ElBaradei, who concludes his term at the end of this month, told a meeting of the Board of Governors in Vienna that the Agency has continued to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran.

"However, there has been no movement on remaining issues of concern which need to be clarified for the Agency to verify the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme," he stated, noting that it is now over a year since the Agency was last able to engage Iran about outstanding issues.

"We have effectively reached a dead end, unless Iran engages fully with us," he said in a wide-rang ing address -- his last to the Board -- that also touched on Syria, and issues of technicial cooperation, nuclear energy and nuclear security.

Iran has stated that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes, but some other countries contend it is driven by military ambitions. The issue has been of international concern since the discovery in 2003 that the country had concealed its nuclear activities for 18 years in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Mr. ElBaradei also described the proposed agreement to provide fuel for a research reactor in Tehran which produces medical radioisotopes for therapeutic and diagnostic procedures as a unique opportunity to address a humanitarian need and create space for negotiations.

Iran has informed the IAEA chief that it is considering the proposal, which was put forward in October during talks held at the IAEA, "in depth and in a favoura ble light" but needed more time to provide a response. The other three parties to the talks -- France, Russia and the United States -- have all indicated their approval of the agreement.

"I am disappointed that Iran has not so far agreed to the original proposal or the alternative modalities, both of which I believe are balanced and fair and would greatly help to alleviate the concerns relating to Iran's nuclear programme," stated Mr. ElBaradei.

"This opportunity should be seized and it would be highly regrettable if it was missed," he added.

Mr. ElBaradei has headed the IAEA since 1998, and will be succeeded by Yukiya Amano, a Japanese diplomat with a lengthy record of working on disarmament and non-proliferation issues.

ENDS

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