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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

IAEA Chief: Iran Not Cooperating

By VOA News
17 February 2009

The head of the United Nations' nuclear agency said Iran is not helping resolve questions about any possible military aspect of its nuclear program.

IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said Tuesday in Paris that Tehran is not now providing any access or clarification about the issue. Western nations have accused Iran of working on nuclear programs in the past, as well as possibly continuing such efforts.

Iran says its nuclear program is, and always has been, for peaceful, civilian purposes and argues that it cooperates with the IAEA.

ElBaradei's comments come one day after he said that Israel's refusal to sign the nuclear weapons non-proliferation treaty is undermining the treaty's legitimacy in Arab public opinion.

Writing in the International Herald Tribune newspaper Monday, the IAEI chief said that Israel is the only state in the Middle East known to have nuclear weapons.

Israel has never confirmed or denied that it has nuclear weapons. But ElBaradei said Israel's position creates a perceived double standard.

ElBaradei said the issue compounds the challenges of resolving the Palestinian issue, which he said is the world's most perilous and intractable conflict.

The IAEA chief also said U.S. President Barack Obama's pledge to engage in direct diplomacy with Iran is long overdue.

The U.N. has placed Tehran under three sets of international sanctions for its nuclear work.

ElBaradei's final term as the head of the IAEA ends in November.

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

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