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US Diplomat:  Iran Has Long Way to Go to Convince World of Nuclear Intentions - 2004-03-16

A U.S. diplomat says Iran has a long way to go to convince the International Atomic Energy Agency and the rest of the world that its nuclear program is for civilian purposes, as it claims. The U.S. ambassador to the IAEA says Iran has been deceiving the world and is not cooperating with the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency.

Kenneth Brill, says a majority of the 35 countries represented on the IAEA board of governors are genuinely worried about Tehran's nuclear ambitions. He said Iran's past deceit has fueled these concerns. "The classic example of why people are concerned about the Iran nuclear program is the Kalaye Electric Company plant which was originally portrayed by the most senior Iranian officials as a simple watch factory or simple warehouse and over time its true use and purpose was conveyed to the IAEA: it was a place where centrifuge experiments had been done," he said.

Tehran claims the centrifuges are used in its civilian program, but the United States insists that they are part of the government's secret weapons program.

"Before the Iranian government would allow the agency inspectors into that facility they took it apart. They took out all the equipment. They repainted it. They did everything," said Mr. Brill. "They dug it up and they tried to hide as much as they could. Nonetheless the agency still found evidence of things going on there that clearly shouldn't have been. The question that we all have when we heard about the delay in the inspection was is this going to be yet another example of where Iran delays inspectors from coming to facilities that [the IAEA] hasn't yet inspected while they try to clean it up and get rid of evidence."

Unlike Libya, Mr. Brill said, Iran has not cooperated fully with the IAEA, and this is cause for concern. "The lack of cooperation makes it very clear Iran has something to hide. We know it has something to hide. We think their actions have only underscored that fact in the past few days," he said.

The IAEA board of governors will meet in June to consider once again what to do about Iran's nuclear ambitions.