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IAEA Chief Calls on Iran to Disclose All Nuclear Activities - 2003-09-08

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency is calling for Iran to disclose all its nuclear activities as a matter of urgency.

Mohamed El Baradei started a closed-door session of the IAEA board of governors with the latest report on Iran's nuclear program. He said Iran's cooperation with the agency has been slow in coming, and the information it has given was, at times, inconsistent. He urged Iran to provide the agency with a full and accurate declaration of its nuclear plans.

Iran insists it has fully cooperated with international inspectors, and denies it has a plan to build nuclear weapons.

The IAEA wants Iran to identify the origins of imported equipment and components found to be contaminated with highly enriched uranium. It also wants an explanation on tests conducted on gas centrifuges that could be used to produce weapons-grade nuclear fuel.

The agency's scientists discovered that Iran had carried out live tests on the centrifuges, contradicting Tehran's assertion that the work had taken place at a university laboratory. In the upcoming weeks the IAEA wants Iran to allow inspectors complete and prompt access to sites for environmental sampling.

IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said more work will have to be carried out before the agency reaches its final conclusions. "This report does show, it is quite long and so is the inspection process. It is a painstaking and complex process and particularly in a country with a large and sophisticated nuclear program. You will see that this report does not jump to any conclusions on the nature of the program," she said.

The Bush administration suspects Tehran wants to build nuclear weapons and asked the IAEA board to pass a resolution requiring Iran to fully reveal its nuclear program and allow surprise inspections from the IAEA. A draft resolution on Iran is expected to be submitted for a vote on Wednesday.