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IAEA Team Sent to Iran - 2003-06-07


The International Atomic Energy Agency confirms it has sent a team to Tehran to inspect nuclear facilities in Iran.

IAEA spokesman Mark Gwozdecky says safeguards experts now in Iran will take stock of nuclear sites in accordance with legal agreements. "It's one of many teams that go in and out of Iran as part of a normal inspection process," he said. "Before February we were going regularly to the facilities that were already and have been under safeguards for some time. But since February, of course, the Iranians have informed us about some new facilities, so we have been going there as well."

At the end of February, Tehran signed an agreement promising to provide the IAEA with early design information as well as details of its uranium enrichment facilities. The IAEA says Iran informed it last September that it has ambitious plans to build nuclear power plants and related fuel facilities over the next 20 years with a full "fuel cycle." Tehran also insists that its nuclear program is entirely peaceful. A report on Iran's program is scheduled to go before the IAEA board of governors on June 16.

Meanwhile, leaked copies of the report allege that Iran has failed to comply with its nuclear safeguard commitments. It says Iran has not fully declared its nuclear material and uranium enrichment systems. The United States describes the report as "deeply troubling" and a challenge to regional stability.

Questions are already being raised concerning the origins of Iran's uranium enrichment technology. Last month there were suggestions that suppliers could come from Pakistan or North Korea, but also that unidentified western firms might be involved.

The IAEA is declining to comment on the report before its presentation to the 35-member board.