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IAEA to Circulate Report on Iran's Nuclear Ambitions - 2004-05-27

The International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna says it will soon circulate a new report on Iran's nuclear ambitions, but says this might not close the file as Tehran wants.

IAEA spokesman Mark Gwozdecky says the agency is putting the finishing touches on a report, which will be the basis of a discussion about Iran's nuclear program at the agency's board meeting next month.

"All I can say is that our report is going to be delivered to the Board of Governors by the end of the month, that it will include all the information that we have gleaned from recent inspections but not necessarily draw to a conclusion [on] this matter," he said.

Mr. Gwozdecky would not comment on the degree of Iran's cooperation with the agency, but western diplomats have criticized Iran for denying inspectors access to military locations.

A diplomat who wished to remain anonymous, says there are major questions that Tehran has failed to address for more than a year.

The diplomat mentioned a location previously hidden from the IAEA where inspectors found traces of highly-enriched uranium, despite an attempt by Iranian scientists to clean up the facility.

The head of the U.S. mission to the IAEA, Ambassador Kenneth Brill, has previously said that the fact that much of Iran's nuclear activity is located in military installations proves that the program is not purely for peaceful purposes, as Iran claims.

A Vienna-based Iranian diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Tehran has provided a high level of cooperation to the IAEA, and has fulfilled an action plan as promised. The diplomat says Iran submitted a nuclear declaration, as required, and wants its nuclear program removed from the IAEA agenda after the June meeting.

When asked what would happen if this did not occur, he replied, "Then we would have to consider the possibilities".

The ambassador spoke shortly after Iranian President Mohammad Khatami warned in Tehran that Iran might resume the enrichment of uranium and stop allowing surprise inspections of its nuclear sites if the IAEA fails to recognize its cooperation at next month's board meeting.

The president acknowledged that the IAEA might continue to monitor Iran's nuclear program after next month's meeting, but he said Iran wants recognition of the progress it has made.