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IAEA Told Enough About Nuclear Program, says Iran - 2004-02-25


Iran says it has told the International Atomic Energy Agency enough about its nuclear program, and it is under no obligation to give any further details. At the same time, Iranian officials are insisting that concerns that it may be developing nuclear weapons are the result of a misunderstanding.

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Hassan Rohani, says Tehran has answered enough questions from the IAEA. Iran's official news agency quotes Mr. Rohani as saying Iran has nuclear projects underway that the government does not need to declare to the agency. He gave no details about what those projects might be.

Mr. Rohani's statement comes a day after the IAEA leaked details of a report on Iran's nuclear program, in which it said Tehran continued to hide technology and research that might be part of a program to build nuclear weapons. IAEA chief Mohammed ElBaradei said Tuesday that he wants to see more prompt information from Iran.

A spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry, Hamid Reza Asefi, meanwhile, has dismissed the IAEA's report as a misunderstanding over procedural issues. He says the report does not contradict Iran's consistent claim that it is not pursuing a nuclear weapons program.

At the center of the controversy are designs for a centrifuge used to enrich uranium for peaceful or military means. The IAEA charges that Iran failed to declare that it had a P-2 model centrifuge, which is more sophisticated than the P-1 model that Iran has admitted to having.

The IAEA report also charges that Iran failed to declare that it produced polonium 210, an element used in some designs for nuclear weapons, but which also has civilian uses.

Iran agreed last year to allow inspectors to visit its nuclear sites, and agreed to temporarily stop enriching uranium as a goodwill gesture. If Tehran is found to be in breach of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, it could face sanctions from the U.N. Security Council.

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