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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UN atomic watchdog urges calls on Iran not to undermine its nuclear inspections

1 August 2005 The United Nations agency entrusted with curbing the spread of nuclear weapons today called on Iran to continue negotiating with the European Union (EU) and not take any action that could undermine agency inspections following its decision to resume uranium conversion as of today.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that in order to implement effective safeguards it would need to install additional surveillance equipment at the Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) in Esfahan, where the resumption is planned, and would not be able to do so until some time next week.

"To ensure continuity of knowledge, it is essential that Iran refrain from removing the Agency's seals and from moving any nuclear material at UCF until such time as the surveillance equipment is installed and the Agency has verified the material," the IAEA told Iran in reply to a Note Verbale announcing the resumption as of 1 August, 2005.

Three EU countries, Britain, France and Germany, known as E3/EU, have been negotiating for months with Iran for a diplomatic solution. Iran denies it is seeking nuclear weapons, insisting its programme is for energy generation, but several countries, including the United States, insist the oil-producing country is seeking such weapons.

"I call on Iran to continue the negotiation process with the E3/EU and not to take any action that might prejudice the process at this critical stage when the E3/EU are expected to deliver a package addressing security and political, economic and nuclear issues," IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei said in a statement today.

"I also call on Iran not to take any unilateral action that could undermine the Agency inspection process at a time when the Agency is making steady progress in resolving outstanding issues," he added.

Iran voluntarily suspended operations last year of all enrichment related and reprocessing activities, and the IAEA said then that this confidence building measure, to be verified by the Agency, was essential to addressing outstanding nuclear issues. Enriched uranium can be used both for generating energy and making nuclear weapons.

The IAEA had previously determined that Iran had for almost two decades concealed its nuclear activities in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

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