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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran says ready to share nuclear research data with UN watchdog

RIA Novosti

21/08/2007 19:00

TEHRAN, August 21 (RIA Novosti) - Tehran is prepared to share information on its controversial nuclear program with the United Nations nuclear watchdog, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday.

Iran, which Western countries suspect of pursuing a secret nuclear weapons program, has stepped up cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in recent months, and in late July re-admitted inspectors to the Arak heavy water reactor.

The president was quoted by local media as saying: "Our achievements in the nuclear sphere belong to the entire world. The Islamic Republic of Iran is prepared to present these achievements to the IAEA member states under the IAEA charter."

Ahmadinejad said his country would continue nuclear research for civilian purposes, in accordance with its rights under international law.

A delegation from the IAEA arrived in Tehran on Monday for a new round of talks aimed at resolving the international dispute over Iran's nuclear program. The UN body is represented by Deputy Director Olli Heinonen, and the Iranian delegation is led by deputy chief nuclear negotiator Javad Vaeedi, vice secretary of the country's security council.

IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said the talks were being held in a constructive tone and had good prospects for success. IAEA experts, who will leave Tehran on Wednesday, are expected to return to the nuclear watchdog's headquarters with a final draft plan for gradually resolving the international community's un-answered questions over Iran's nuclear program, he said.

"The international community must be sure that Tehran's nuclear activity is under the IAEA control," ElBaradei said.

The Egyptian diplomat said he hoped all problems would be resolved through dialogue. "Attempts to resolve the problem through military means could prompt Iran to launch a program to create nuclear weapons even if the country had not previously developed such plans," he said.

He cited Iraq as an example: "We can see from the example of Iraq that military interference has exacerbated the problem rather than solved it."

The last round of talks between the IAEA and Iran was held in July in Vienna. The country, which says its nuclear program is geared towards generating electricity in order to free up valuable oil and gas resources for export, drafted an action plan in June on giving IAEA inspectors access to nuclear facilities, in a bid to avert new UN sanctions.

Iran has defied three consecutive UN resolutions against its nuclear program since last year. The six countries negotiating the dispute - permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany - have demanded that Tehran suspend all uranium enrichment before negotiating a solution. President Ahmadinejad announced in early April the launch of industrial-scale uranium enrichment.

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