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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UN atomic watchdog calls on Iran to show its nuclear activities are peaceful

25 November 2005 The head of the United Nations agency entrusted with curbing the spread of nuclear weapons has called on Iran to take speedy action to provide additional information and take other measures that are “indispensable” for ensuring that its nuclear programme is solely for peaceful purposes.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei welcomed recent Iranian actions, including the provision of additional documents, interviews with relevant individuals and further access after it was found to have broken its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) by concealing its activities for nearly two decades.

“However, I urge Iran to respond positively and without delay to the Agency´s remaining questions related to uranium enrichment, and to the additional transparency measures we have requested,” he told the opening session of a Board of Governors meeting in Vienna yesterday, citing the process that can provide nuclear weapons fuel.

“As I have stated before, these transparency measures are indispensable for the Agency to be able to clarify remaining outstanding issues - in particular, the scope and chronology of Iran’s centrifuge enrichment programme. Clarification of these issues is overdue, after three years of intensive verification efforts.”

Iran's nuclear programme has been a matter of concern since 2003, when the IAEA uncovered its concealment of its activities. Iran insists its programme is for peaceful energy production only but some countries, including the United States, says it is part of an effort to produce nuclear weapons.

At its last meeting in September the Board of Governors found that Iran’s NPT breaches were within the competence of the Security Council, which can impose sanctions, but did not refer the matter to the 15-member body.

Mr. ElBaradei said the IAEA continued to monitor installations related to Iran´s enrichment programmes and had not observed any deviation from its voluntary suspension of enrichment activities, although it has continued to conduct uranium conversion activities at its Esfahan facility, which is under Agency containment and surveillance.

“I do hope also that, in parallel, every effort will be made so that the dialogue between Iran and all concerned parties can be resumed, with a view to achieving a comprehensive solution that addresses, inter alia, both Iran’s concerns about its right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and the concerns of the international community about the peaceful nature of these activities,” he added.

“I still believe that robust verification by the Agency, combined with active dialogue among all concerned parties, is the best way to move forward.”

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