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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran-IAEA continue to clear up nuclear issues

RIA Novosti

11/12/2007 13:06 TEHRAN, December 11 (RIA Novosti) - Tehran is hosting a second day of talks between a UN nuclear watchdog delegation and Iranian authorities aimed at clarifying a number of outstanding issues in connection with Iran's nuclear program.

The three-day talks at the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) are focusing on highly-enriched uranium particles found in nuclear equipment at Tehran's Technical University and are part of an earlier agreement between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that was signed on August 21.

The agreement stipulates that Tehran is to respond by the end of the year to all of the IAEA's outstanding questions on its nuclear program. Besides the uranium discovered at Tehran University, UN weapons experts also had questions concerning Iran's gas centrifuges for uranium enrichment, metal uranium and the country's experiments with plutonium.

The negotiations involve Iran's envoy to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, and AEOI deputy head Mohammad Saeedi.

Iran says its nuclear program is for civilian purposes, while Western nations suspect the country of attempting to build a nuclear bomb.

The U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) stated last week that Tehran had put a stop to weapons production in 2003, although it was continuing to enrich uranium. Iran denied ever having a weapons production program.

Despite the report, President George W. Bush said Washington and its allies would continue to push for new sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Bush called for diplomacy, but did not rule out military action.

Two sets of mild UN sanctions are in place against Iran. China and Russia have both so far blocked the imposition of any new round of punitive measures against the Islamic Republic.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Monday that UN Security Council permanent members and Germany would hold consultations on Tuesday to finalize the draft of a third punitive resolution against Iran for Tehran's refusal to halt uranium enrichment.

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