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Last Updated: Friday, 6 June, 2003, 19:59 GMT 20:59 UK
UN suspects Iran of nuclear breaches
IAEA director Mohammed ElBaradei (L) with President Khatami earlier this year
Ties between the IAEA and Iran have been good until now
The United Nations' nuclear watchdog believes Iran has failed to comply with its obligations on storing and processing nuclear material.

A report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says Tehran has broken an agreement to report proscribed nuclear activities - but adds that it is taking steps to rectify this.

The report was released to news agencies on Friday ahead of a meeting of the IAEA's board of governors on the issue later this month.

Iran, which the United States has described as part of an "axis of evil", denied it was breaking any agreements and said it could answer every point made in the report.

The number of failures by Iran to report the material, facilities and activities in question in a timely manner... is a matter of concern
IAEA report
"We have done nothing which would violate our commitments regarding the NPT [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty]," said foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Assefi.

"We have answers for all the points mentioned in this news."

Iran insists it wants to use nuclear energy only for peaceful purposes and denies allegations that it is developing nuclear weapons.

It has so far refused to sign agreements that would allow tougher international inspections of its nuclear facilities.

'Minor'

The IAEA report accuses Iran of failing to meet its obligations to:

  • account for nuclear material

  • report its subsequent processing and use

  • declare facilities where the material is stored and processed

The report notes that the quantities of nuclear material involved have "not been large" but says that Iran's failures to report back were a "matter of concern".

Atomic ambitions
Satellite image of nuclear power reactor in Bushehr, Iran
First nuclear plant comes online by summer 2004
Has signed up to the Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty
Can now supply its own power stations with nuclear fuel

Last Sunday, Russia - Iran's main partner in its nuclear power programme - added its voice to those calling on Tehran to sign an additional protocol to the NPT.

That would permit tougher international inspections, giving the Iranians a chance to prove they are not trying to produce nuclear weapons.

But Iran refused to agree to this, before international sanctions are lifted and the country is given the technology to develop atomic energy for peaceful purposes.

Washington hopes the IAEA will turn up the heat on Iran when its 35-member board meets after 16 June by signalling grave doubts that its network of nuclear facilities is merely designed for power generation.


SEE ALSO:
Is Iran next after Iraq?
29 May 03  |  Middle East
US steps up pressure on Iran
28 May 03  |  Middle East
Iran rejects US pressure
26 May 03  |  Middle East
Iranian leader angry at US talks
13 May 03  |  Middle East
Iran not 'meddling' in Iraq
24 Apr 03  |  Middle East


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