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Iran Seeks to Extend Nuclear Group Demands - 2003-10-13

Iran is indicating it wants more time to comply with demands from the International Atomic Energy Agency beyond the October 31 deadline the agency has set.

Iran's envoy to the IAEA says his country is committed to boosting cooperation with the agency but may need more time to satisfy all of its demands.

In comments published in the state-run daily Iran, envoy Ali Akbar Salehi said Iran's cooperation with the IAEA has "quickened" since talks earlier this month. Mr. Salehi said cooperation should accelerate further in the coming weeks but that more time may be needed. He said it would be wrong to declare failure as long as progress is being made.

The IAEA has given Iran until the end of October to fully disclose the nature of its nuclear program and to agree to an additional protocol that would subject its nuclear sites to closer scrutiny by agency inspectors.

Meanwhile, Iran's Presidential Advisor Ali Rabiee told the country's news agency that "highly placed officials in the Iranian government were discussing seriously the issue of the additional protocol." The presidential advisor also announced that IAEA director Mohamed ElBaradei is expected to arrive Thursday in Tehran for more talks on nuclear issues.

Iran is a signatory of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, and says its nuclear program is purely for peaceful purposes. The United States has accused Iran of pursuing a clandestine nuclear-weapons program.

In a related development, Egypt's official news agency reports from Tehran that the Deputy Speaker of Iran's Parliament, Mohamed Reza Khatami, has called on his country to allow more IAEA inspections in order to convince the world Iran has no nuclear weapons. Mr. Khatami is the brother of Iranian president Mohamed Khatemi.