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US Calls on UN Nuclear Agency to Hold Iran to Its Promises on Nuclear Disclosure - 2003-10-31

The United States Friday urged International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) member countries to hold Iran to its promises to fully disclose its nuclear program.

The United States has long held that Iran's nominally peaceful nuclear program has a concealed weapons component. And it is urging other members of the 35-nation IAEA Governing Board to examine Iran's submissions to the agency with a skeptical eye.

In a vote in September, the board ordered Iran to prove by October 31 that it had no secret weapons program or face the prospect of international sanctions by the U.N. Security Council.

Iran submitted a report to the agency a week ago which IAEA Director-General Mohammed ElBaradei said was comprehensive, though he said the accuracy of the document had yet to be determined.

At a news briefing here, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher noted that the September 12 resolution required, among other things, that Iran fully disclose its uranium-enrichment equipment and testing activity and give the IAEA unrestricted access, including environmental sampling, at any suspect site.

Though Iran said last week it would accept a tougher international inspections regime and suspend uranium-enrichment activity, Mr. Boucher urged board members to withhold judgment on Iranian compliance until Mr. ElBaradei delivers his conclusions in a report due in mid-November.

"We've had suspicions about Iran's programs for many, many years. What we've seen again are promises. We will find out from the director-general's reports whether those promises have been fulfilled, and fulfilled to the extent that they actually meet the requirements that were laid down by the board," Mr. Boucher said.

Iran agreed to accept the stricter inspections October 21 during an unprecedented visit to Tehran by the British, French and German foreign ministers. Its U.N. ambassador said Friday the ElBaradei report will "verify" that Iran has engaged only in peaceful nuclear activities.

Should the IAEA board judge Iran to be in non-compliance with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty when it meets November 20 to consider the director-general's report, it could refer the issue to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions.