Iran says it’s willing to cooperate with IAEA (Lead)

November 20th, 2008 - 2:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Tehran, Nov 20 (IANS) Iran has said it would pursue “constructive and comprehensive interaction” with the UN nuclear watchdog, official IRNA news agency reported Thursday. Following the release of a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Wednesday, deputy head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) Mohammed Saeedi told reporters Tehran’s relation with the IAEA would continue in keeping with the objectives of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

He said Iran has provided IAEA necessary access to its nuclear facilities within the framework of NPT Safeguards Agreement.

He added: “The trend will continue in the future and the IAEA’s inspectors will be able to inspect Iran’s installations within the framework of NPT Safeguards Agreement.”

The NPT, which seeks nuclear disarmament and peaceful use of nuclear power, opened in 1968 for signature. Till date 189 countries have signed the treaty. The three states which have refused to sign are India, Israel and Pakistan. North Korea signed the treaty, violated it and then withdrew.

The NPT Safeguards Agreement requires signatories to follow safeguards for their civil nuclear facilities appropriate to individual requirements.

Saeedi said: “From now on IAEA request can be accepted in the framework of NPT Safeguards Agreement.”

IAEA chief Mohammed ElBaradei in a report to the agency Wednesday said Tehran has obtained some two tonnes of enriched industrial uranium since it started refining the nuclear fuel two years ago but the inspectors could not verify that Tehran has diverted it activities to a secret weapon programme.

The US and the West suspect that Iran has a secret weapon programme in the guise of a civilian nuclear plan and have demanded that Tehran stop enriching uranium.

Enriched uranium is used as fuel for nuclear power plant but at a higher degree of refining it could also be used for making an atom bomb.

Iran has demonstrated a capability possessed by only about ten countries. Because of the characteristics of gas centrifuges, the Iranian facility could be used for the production of low enriched uranium for civil purposes or highly enriched uranium for nuclear weapons, depending on the decision of the government.

The Iranian government has persistently refused to stop its nuclear activities saying its nuclear programme is civilian in nature and has been slapped with three sets of mild diplomatic sanctions by the UN.

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