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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 September, 2003, 06:15 GMT 07:15 UK
Iran 'to cut nuclear co-operation'
Shahab-3 missile test, shown on Iranian TV (Archive picture)
The Shahab-3 is capable of reaching Israel
Iran is to reduce its co-operation with the UN nuclear watchdog following a demand that it proves its nuclear aims are peaceful, according to an Iranian diplomat.

Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran's representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), on Monday said Iran had been showing "good will and transparency", by exceeding its obligations and allowing inspections at sites which didn't fall under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

But following an IAEA resolution giving Iran until 31 October to disclose all its nuclear activities, Mr Salehi said it would now go by the book and not do anything beyond its existing commitments.

The BBC's Jim Muir in Tehran says this will be a disappointment to the IAEA - which had urged Iran to act as though it had already signed an additional protocol allowing intrusive, unannounced inspections.

However Mr Salehi said IAEA lawyers would soon be travelling to Iran to continue negotiations towards the signing of that protocol and he hinted that Iran might have little choice but to sign up.

The international protocol is not a good protocol and amounts to interference in the affairs of states
Ali Akbar Salehi
Our correspondent says that behind the scenes, Iranian leaders are still debating how to respond to October deadline.

Many hardline figures have publicly urged the government to pull out of the Non-Proliferation Treaty altogether, but most reformists argue that compliance is the best option.

In Monday's television interview, Mr Salehi criticized the decision to set a deadline, but did not say whether Iran would try to meet it.

"Many members of IAEA were surprised that despite Iran's very good co-operation with the agency, some countries were pushing for a deadline," he said.

"Irrespective of whether we oppose or agree to the deadline, setting a deadline from the logical point of view is unacceptable."


The 31 October deadline was agreed on the basis of a report by IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei listing the discovery of weapons-grade enriched uranium and other evidence that could signal an Iranian atomic weapons program.

Iran says its nuclear programme is designed to meet its energy needs only, and has no military use.

Earlier on Monday, Iranian President Mohammed Khatami vowed to increase Iran's conventional military strength at a public display of some of its most advanced weaponry.

Half a dozen of Iran's Shahab-3 missiles, whose range has caused concern in Israel and the United States, were exhibited for the first time at the show of military prowess near Tehran to commemorate the start of the Iran-Iraq war in 1980.

President Khatami said that Iran was against weapons of mass destruction and nuclear arms in particular, but he insisted on its right to develop peaceful technology.

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