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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

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UN Atomic Agency Opens Meeting on Iran


05 March 2007

The chief U.N. nuclear inspector says Iran's refusal to cooperate with an investigation by the International Atomic Energy Agency has left the agency unable to determine whether Tehran is trying to develop nuclear weapons.

In opening remarks Monday at a meeting of the 35-nation board of the IAEA, agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei said unless Tehran decides to cooperate with the IAEA, the international community will continue to express concern.

Key members of the U.N. nuclear agency in Vienna are expected this week to approve cuts of more than 20 technical aid projects to Iran, as Tehran defies U.N. demands to suspend its sensitive nuclear work.

Meanwhile, six world powers are still trying to reach consensus on widening sanctions on Iran for its failure to comply with a February 21 U.N. Security Council deadline to suspend uranium enrichment.

The United States said it had expected a resolution to be finalized during a Saturday conference call with representatives of Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany, but the talks failed to produce an agreement.

A State Department spokesman says the six nation talks on the Iran resolution will continue at the United Nations in New York.

Diplomats say the six powers are considering a travel ban on Iranian nuclear officials and a gradual tightening of sanctions imposed by the Security Council in December.

The United States and its Western allies suspect Iran is working to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.



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