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Iran Says Resolution Undermines Credibility of IAEA - 2004-09-20


The European Union and Russia joined the United States Monday in urging Iran to comply with a resolution passed by the International Atomic Energy Agency. But Iran insists on its right to uranium enrichment.

The Iranian delegation listened to speeches at the IAEA general conference Monday, calling on Tehran to suspend parts of its nuclear program that could be used for atomic weapons.

The IAEA executive board approved a resolution on Saturday asking Iran to freeze uranium enrichment and take all steps necessary to clarify outstanding issues on its nuclear ambitions.

The head of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, told the conference questions concerning the origins of contamination, advanced centrifuges and the separation of plutonium still need explanation.

Reza Aghazadeh, Iranian vice president and head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, replied by saying the IAEA resolution undermined the credibility of the agency.

"Some of the provisions of the resolution are contrary to the letter and spirit of the agency's statute and the NPT [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty] and some are beyond the safeguards obligations," he said.

He said all members of the IAEA have the right to perform uranium enrichment and conversion.

Mr. Aghazadeh said Iran also has a legal right to build a heavy water reactor for medical and agricultural purposes.

The IAEA resolution calls on Iran to reconsider the construction of such a reactor at Arak that some say is a sign of a nuclear weapons program.

Mr. Aghazadeh told conference delegates the Iranian program will go ahead under the supervision of the IAEA.

"Our great nation will not permit any interference and or interruption in our peaceful and indigenous nuclear program and it will not give up at any price," said Mr. Aghazadeh.

The IAEA board of governors is expected to meet again in November to look at a full report on Iran's compliance with its demands.

According to the IAEA resolution, the board will then decide "whether or not further steps are appropriate" regarding Iran's international obligations and the suspension of its uranium enrichment program.

The United States and other countries say the file should go to the U.N. Security Council if Iran cannot dispel doubts that it is working on a secret nuclear weapons program.

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