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UN nuke chief: Iran transparency is 'key'
Envoy stresses Tehran’s legal right to nuclear technology

UNITED NATIONS (Los Angeles Times) -- The head of the UN's nuclear watchdog agency said Monday that Iran's cooperation and transparency are key"" to the report that the IAEA will present to its board next month on Tehran's compliance with the agency's queries about its nuclear program.

He told the UN General Assembly that the inquiry into Iran's nuclear case was not closed, and called it regrettable that Iran continued to enrich uranium despite the Security Council's demand to stop the process.

ElBaradei said that none of Iran's nuclear material had been diverted toward making a weapon, and that Iran had answered questions about past plutonium experiments.

Those developments gave him hope that Iran would resolve unanswered issues about its nuclear program and avoid further penalties and threats from Security Council members.

ElBaradei has made clear that he prefers negotiation over confrontation, and that he believes that if Iran is actually trying to build a weapon, it is still years away from being able to do so.

""We have said that we cannot give Iran a pass right now, because there's still a lot of question marks,"" the Egyptian diplomat told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Sunday. ""But have we seen Iran having the nuclear material that can readily be used into a weapon? No. Have we seen an active weaponization program? No. So there is a concern, but there is also time to clarify these concerns.""

He chided the Bush administration for attempting to increase pressure on Iran, saying that ""we should continue to stop spinning and hyping the Iranian issue because that's an issue that could have a major conflagration, and not only regionally, but globally.""

ElBaradei's stance has put him in repeated conflict with the Bush administration, which tried to scuttle his election for a second term as the atomic energy agency's director-general. The U.S. is leading efforts in the Security Council to impose a new round of economic and political penalties on Tehran, a move that has been tempered repeatedly by China and Russia.

Envoy stresses Iran’s inalienable nuclear right

Iran's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Mohammad Khazaei here on Monday stressed that the Islamic Republic of Iran considers the development of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes to be its inalienable right.

Addressing the UN General Assembly session on the report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), he added, ""Tehran has thus invested extensive human and material resources in the field of nuclear power within the framework of the country's overall economic plan.

""As we have stressed time and again, Iran's nuclear program is completely peaceful. All reports issued by the IAEA since November 2003 have been indicative of the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program.""

The Iranian envoy further stressed that the IAEA has repeatedly reaffirmed that it ""has not seen indications of diversion of nuclear material to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.""

This assertion has also been attested to by the IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei in his various public statements, he said adding, ""Nevertheless, in an unwarranted move orchestrated by few of its permanent members, the Security Council has taken unlawful, unnecessary and unjustifiable actions against the peaceful nuclear program of the Islamic Republic of Iran.""

Indeed, Iran's peaceful nuclear program poses no threat to international peace and security, and therefore dealing with this issue in the Security Council is unwarranted and void of any legal basis or practical utility, Khazaei reiterated.

""Without a doubt, the move to bring the Iranian nuclear file to the Security Council, and the intention of the co-sponsors of the resolutions adopted thus far, have been derived from their ulterior motives and narrow national considerations in order to deprive the Iranian people of their inalienable rights, rather than emanating from so-called proliferation concerns,"" he said


 

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