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Powell Welcomes Iran's Nuclear Revelations, Wants Further Cooperation - 2003-11-18


U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says Iran appears to be moving in "the right direction" on disclosure of its nuclear activities. But he says he is still not satisfied Tehran's nuclear weapons program has stopped.

Washington has been campaigning for Iran to be declared in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty at a board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna later this week. That could lead to the involvement of the United Nations Security Council and possible sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

But the European Union, and especially its big three member states, Britain, France and Germany, advocate less drastic measures and have drafted a resolution ahead of the IAEA meeting that stops short of declaring Iran in non-compliance.

Britain, France and Germany recently persuaded Iran to agree to open its nuclear facilities to IAEA inspectors, and say the Islamic Republic should be encouraged to cooperate further with the nuclear watchdog agency.

Mr. Powell takes a more skeptical attitude, saying Washington has to be clearly convinced that Iran is cooperating fully and openly with the international community.

"I am pleased that Iran seems to be moving in the right direction now, but we can't be satisfied until Iran has demonstrated that all the programs it had been pursuing have now been made known to the international community and they are now being brought to a halt," said Mr. Powell.

Mr. Powell also says the European draft resolution on Tehran's past noncompliance with its treaty obligations is not tough enough.

"We have some reservations about the resolution drafted that we have seen, and we'll be in discussion with our European Union colleagues and other members of the IAEA as to whether or not the resolution is strong enough to convey to the world the difficulties we've had with Iran over the years," he said. "The fact of the matter is that Iran has been in non-compliance."

Washington says the purpose of Iran's nuclear program is to make atomic weapons. Iran denies that but has admitted that it failed in the past to disclose uranium enrichment activities and facilities.

European diplomats say the United States will probably not gain support at the IAEA Thursday for a declaration that Iran has violated the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

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