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IAEA Board Reviews Iran's Nuclear Program - 2004-06-14


The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Board has expressed dissatisfaction with the information that Iran has provided on its nuclear program. The IAEA. is considering a report on Tehran's atomic energy program, which the United States suspects is a smokescreen to a nuclear-weapons project.

The head of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, told board members that steady progress is being made in understanding the nature and extent of Iran's nuclear program.

But he also says Iran still has not completely stopped the production of centrifuge components at some workshops. The IAEA chief criticized Tehran for providing changing and contradictory information on advanced centrifuges, known as P-2s, that it kept secret from the agency until this year.

Mr. Elbaradei said Tehran has not provided enough information to explain the origins of highly enriched uranium contamination found on equipment which Iran says it imported from a third country.

The IAEA chief said his inspectors had experienced a year of difficulties in Iran and called for the Islamic republic to cooperate as a matter of urgency.

Seyed Hossein Mousavian, head of the foreign policy committee in Iran's Supreme National Security Council, told reporters outside the IAEA meeting that only these two issues, which he described as technical, remained to be cleared up.

"About contamination, also it [the report] shows big progress. We believe with more sampling and the cooperation of the third-party country this ambiguity would also be resolved," he said. "About P-2, he [ElBaradei] today announced he has received new information which he hopes this new information would resolve the P-2."

Mr. Mousavian said the information was given to inspectors recently in Iran. He said the inspectors confirm Iran's declarations by around 90 percent.

A report circulated to reporters by Iran denies there were delayed inspections or contradictory accounts given to the IAEA. The 35-nation IAEA board will consider a draft resolution rebuking Iran submitted by key European nations. The United States would like to see a tougher version to put pressure on Iran.

The debate is likely to last several days.

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