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Last Updated: Friday, 25 November 2005, 18:36 GMT
Rafsanjani welcomes IAEA decision
Iran's former president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, speaks during Friday prayers ceremony in Tehran
Mr Rafsanjani said Iran was ready to co-operate to remove any doubts
Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has welcomed the latest statement by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Mr Rafsanjani told worshippers at Friday prayers in Tehran the decision not to refer Iran to the UN Security Council showed wisdom had prevailed.

Russia has been given time to broker a deal on Iran's nuclear programme.

But Britain's ambassador left demanding the Security Council be allowed to analyse key Iranian nuclear documents.

We should work with patience and tolerance to save the region and the world from a dangerous fate
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani

Peter Jenkins, Britain's permanent representative to the IAEA, said that some non-aligned countries had opposed giving them a document Iran had submitted to the agency.

The document contains information on casting and machining uranium metal - a process that experts say could be used to build a nuclear bomb.

West 'suspicious'

"It would be helpful if the [IAEA] director general could arrange for the document to be seen by experts from the five nuclear weapons states," Mr Jenkins said.

The European Union "sees grounds for deep concern" that Iran had admitted having the document, Mr Jenkins added.

Iran's representative at the IAEA, Mohammad Mehdi Akhondzadeh, said that the document contained "simple and non-sophisticated information which could be found in open literatures and on internet".

Mined uranium ore is purified and reconstituted into solid form known as yellowcake
Yellowcake is chemically processed and converted into a gas by heating it to about 64C (147F)
Gas is fed through centrifuges, where its isotopes separate and process is repeated until uranium is enriched
Low-level enriched uranium is used for nuclear fuel
Highly enriched uranium can be used in nuclear weapons

Mr Akhondzadeh said his country's submission of the document was "a clear indication of Iran's full transparency".

The IAEA's 35-nation board of governors decided to put off referring Iran to the UN Security Council, instead giving Russia more time to broker a compromise deal under which it would enrich processed uranium for use in Iran's nuclear reactors.

The US Ambassador to the IAEA, Greg Schulte, welcomed Russia's efforts, but warned that time was running out for Tehran to rebuild international confidence.

"There's ample cause to report Iran to the UN Security Council and that time will be soon if Iran continues to defy the board's calls to cooperate fully with the IAEA," Mr Schulte told the BBC.

"There's still deep suspicion in the West as to the nature of Iran's nuclear ambitions."

'Wisdom prevailed'

Mr Rafsanjani, the head of Iran's Expediency Council and a senior cleric, said the IAEA's decision was a wise step but still had elements of "intimidation".

"It seems as if a sort of reason, foresight, care and avoidance of adventurism was dominant at the International Atomic Energy Agency," Mr Rafsanjani said in a sermon broadcast on Iranian radio.

"Of course the meeting has not come to an end but so far, it seems, behaviours have modified, and wisdom has somewhat prevailed among the negotiators, on our side and the other side."

He said Iran was prepared to cooperate to remove any doubts, but that this would take time.

"We should work with patience and tolerance to save the region and the world from a dangerous fate. We cannot tolerate intimidation."


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