U.S. Envoy Says Iran-IAEA Deal Has 'Real Limitations'
August 22, 2007 -- A senior U.S. envoy has criticized Iran's agreement on a timetable to answer questions about its nuclear ambitions, saying the plan has "real limitations."
The U.S. ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Gregory Schulte, told reporters in Vienna today that the agreement does not allow for wider UN inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities.
Schulte said Iran is "clearly trying to take the attention from its continued development of bomb-making capabilities."
He said the United States would move forward with other members of the UN Security Council on a resolution that would impose additional sanctions on Tehran.
Speaking in Baku today, Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad said any new sanctions would not deter Tehran's resolve in developing nuclear technology.
The IAEA said on August 21 it had agreed with Iran on a plan of action and a timeline to clear up outstanding questions about its nuclear program.
Iran's deputy nuclear negotiator, Javad Vaidi, described the agreement as "very concrete progress," while IAEA deputy director-general Olli Heinonen called it "an important milestone."
Heinonen said work would start soon on implementing the deal, with IAEA inspectors to conduct activities later this month as well as in September and October.
Details of the agreement are to be included in a report for the IAEA board by early September.
Western Fears, Iranian Denials
Iran and Western nations have been at an impasse for months over Iran's nuclear ambitions amid Western fears Iran could misuse peaceful technology to make nuclear weapons.
Tehran says its nuclear program is only for the peaceful production of nuclear power.
But the Vienna-based UN nuclear watchdog says it has been prevented from confirming Tehran's claims, as Iran has hampered movement by nuclear inspectors.
In its reaction to the August 21 agreement, the U.S. State Department said it was "insufficient" and did not bring Iran in line with demands by the UN Security Council to halt uranium enrichment, or face more penalties.
(compiled from agency reports)
Copyright (c) 2007. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
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