IAEA’s Iran report has nothing new: Diplomat (Lead)

February 20th, 2009 - 7:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Tehran, Feb 20 (IANS) Iran has said the UN atomic watchdog IAEA’s latest report on its nuclear programme “has nothing new”, IRNA reported Friday.
Iran’s envoy Ali-Asghar Soltanieh said here Thursday the IAEA chief Mohammed ElBaradei’s new report shows that its probe on the country’s nuclear programme is ongoing and that it has not mentioned anything new.

He said: “Though it is mentioned Iran has not suspended the enrichment (nuclear programme) and not ratified the protocol (the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty [NPT]), these are not something new. We have repeatedly expressed our technical and judicial reasons for those points.”

Soltanieh said Iran will continue to cooperate with the IAEA, but the cooperation would only be within the framework of legal commitments and based on the Safeguards Agreement and the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

ElBaradei’s Iran report was presented to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors Thursday.

The report showed that since last November, only 164 additional centrifuges have started producing low-enriched uranium. Currently, 3,936 such machines were operating.

Despite three rounds of UN Security Council sanctions, Iran has so far declined to suspend its enrichment programme but said it was ready to guarantee that the programme was only for civil and not for military purposes.

“We see that the pace of installation of centrifuges and of bringing them into operation has slowed down considerably in the last months,” a senior UN official said Thursday, without speculating on the reason.

Iran was also not cooperating with the Vienna-based agency in clarifying past study projects that could have been connected to nuclear weapons research, ElBaradei wrote in the report.

There remain a number or outstanding issues, which give rise to concern, he said.

The IAEA has received intelligence from several member states indicating that past research into high explosives, missile design and uranium metal could have been geared towards nuclear weapons work.

“The Director General continues to urge Iran to implement all measures required to build confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme at the earliest possible date,” the report said.

The report was released to IAEA member states as both the US and Iran have recently indicated their interest in ending three decades of political estrangement and resume direct talks on Iran’s nuclear programmes as well as the situation in Afghanistan and Iraq.

However, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday his country would not suspend its controversial nuclear enrichment programme for the sake of improving ties with the US.

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