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US: Iran Should Follow Libyan Lead on Nuclear Weapons Issue


A U.S. official says Libya's cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency sets a good example for Iran that is in breach of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The IAEA board of governors has praised Libya's decision to give up a secret nuclear program and sign a legal agreement allowing for surprise weapons inspections. Libya has been long branded by the West as a rogue state for allegedly sponsoring attacks like the 1988 Lockerbie airline bombing.

The U.S. ambassador to the IAEA, Kenneth Brill, said he hopes Iran, whose own nuclear program is under intense scrutiny at a meeting this week, will follow Libya's lead.

"That is a country that truly comes clean with the agency and truly cooperates proactively gets a constructive response and countries that seek to avoid providing the kind of active co-operation that Libya has will continue to be the subject of intensified efforts to promote co-operation and further scrutiny," he said.

The United States supports a draft resolution by the IAEA board that criticizes Iran for not being open about its past and present nuclear activities.

"What we are seeking is for Iran to demonstrably and verifiably live up to its international commitments. The IAEA's work has suggested there are a number of areas where it hasn't," he said.

Ambassador Brill says there are "significant concerns" that Iran is working on a military nuclear program, something Tehran denies. The draft resolution criticizes Iran for not suspending its enrichment program that can be used to make weapons. Ambassador Brill says Iran should keep its promise to suspend the program.

"The Iranians aren't quite sure of what they have agreed to with the Europeans and don't seem to be quite sure of what their commitment is to the agency," he said.

Iran is pressing the non-aligned members on the IAEA board to soften the draft resolution, expected to be passed by the end of the week.

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