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IAEA Moving Forward With Draft to Rebuke Iran - 2004-06-16


The U.S. envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency has rejected Iran's threats to limit cooperation with international nuclear inspectors, saying the intimidation tactic shows Tehran has nuclear secrets it wants to hide. The diplomat, speaking at the IAEA headquarters, was responding to Iran's statement it would reject the nuclear watchdog's resolution condemning Tehran for failing to make a full disclosure about its nuclear program.

Diplomats from the 35 nations on the IAEA board of governors say they are close to agreement on a resolution rebuking Iran for not coming clean on its nuclear program. The resolution tops the agenda of this week's meeting of the board in Vienna.

Iran has responded to the draft with a barrage of statements, threatening to curtail its cooperation with IAEA inspectors and to resume uranium enrichment activities, if the resolution is adopted. Tehran is urging the board to drop the Iran resolution altogether.

Senior Tehran negotiator and member of the Supreme National Security Council, Seyed Hossein Mousavian, who is in Vienna for the board meeting, accused the United States of exaggerating the Iran file for political reasons.

"I think the nuclear issue of Iran at the beginning in September was highly politicized but now there is no room for politicizing the Iran nuclear issue," he said.

But U.S. ambassador to the agency, Kenneth Brill, using a basketball metaphor, called Iran's full-court press of intimidation a clear sign Tehran has nuclear secrets to hide.

The United States, and others, have accused Iran of maintaining a clandestine nuclear weapons program, and misleading international inspectors about its nuclear activities. Iran denies the charge.

The IAEA draft text put forward by Britain, France and Germany, calls on Iran to reconsider going ahead with key parts of its atomic program that could produce bomb-grade material. The text also condemns Iran's poor record of cooperation with the IAEA and expresses serious concern about some of the omissions.

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said in Tehran Wednesday in Tehran that if this resolution passes, Iran, in his words, will have no moral commitment to suspend uranium enrichment. He described the text as very bad, and said it violates Iran's sovereign rights.

Late last year, Iran signed an additional protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, allowing international inspectors access to nuclear-related facilities at short notice. But Iran's parliament has yet to ratify the protocol, and some Western diplomats have expressed concern Iran may be deliberately dragging its feet on future inspections.

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