Iran 'will allow nuclear checks'

An Iranian official has said Tehran is ready for a return to snap U.N. inspections if its case is dropped by the U.N. Security Council and returned to the nuclear watchdog agency.

Iran 'will allow nuclear checks'

"If the case returns to the agency again, we will begin the section that concerns the Additional Protocol," Mohammad Saeedi, deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation, told state television on Saturday, according to Reuters.

The Additional Protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty allows short-notice inspections of nuclear facilities.

"The enrichment will continue. But regarding the Additional Protocol, we will continue implementing the Additional Protocol as a voluntary measure," Saeedi added.

He was speaking the day after Mohamed ElBaradei, chief of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, confirmed in a report that Iran had successfully produced enriched uranium and defied a U.N. Security Council deadline to halt all activities related to enrichment.

Iran suspended intrusive inspections of its nuclear plants in February after it was referred to the U.N. Security Council over its nuclear activities that several Western countries suspect are aimed to produce nuclear warheads. Iran, however, says it seeks nuclear power for peaceful purposes.

In its eight-page report to the Security Council, the IAEA said it had not found evidence of diversion of nuclear materials but it is not in a position to rule out undeclared activity.

The United States said it would seek a resolution in the U.N. Security Council urging Iran to halt its nuclear ambitions, the U.S. ambassador said Friday.

Describing a "sense of urgency," John Bolton said work on a draft resolution was under way to address Iran's failure to comply with a Security Council demand to halt its uranium enrichment program.

U.S. President George W. Bush said Friday that diplomatic efforts are "just beginning," adding that the report "should remind us all that the Iranian government's intransigence is not acceptable."

He called the IAEA report a reminder "that the world is united and concerned about their desire to have not only a nuclear weapon, but the capacity to make a nuclear weapon or the knowledge to make a nuclear weapon; all of which we're working hard to convince them not to try to achieve."

Previously, Bush had said no options were off the table, including military action.

The State Department said the report contained nothing new about Iran's nuclear program.

"We viewed this as likely being a pro forma document, and it was. There is nothing here that was unexpected," one senior State Department official said.

The Security Council has asked Iran to stop uranium enrichment but the country has not done so.

On March 29 the council asked the IAEA to report back in 30 days on compliance.

The United States and other countries contend the work is a guise to hide the country's development of nuclear weapons.

On April 11, Iran declared it had produced enriched uranium in concentrations capable of running a nuclear power plant.

Bush said Friday that he was consulting with allies. "Diplomacy is my first choice and should be the first choice of any president," he added.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said it was "very serious that the Iranian regime has failed fully to co-operate with the IAEA and the United Nations Security Council."

Before the report's release Friday, Iranian President Mahmood Ahmadinejad said no measures would stop Iran from continuing its nuclear program.

"Iran is a nuclear country. This slogan that nuclear energy is our inalienable right is the outcry of the people and a national demand," Ahmadinejad said during a trip to the northwestern Iranian town of Khorramdareh.

"Achieving nuclear technology is today the will of all Iranians, whether they're young, old, man, woman or child. You can hear their voice here supporting the nuclear activities of Iran. Listen!" he said, stirring a crowd of thousands.

Bolton: 'Iran holds the key'

Bolton said the United States first would seek a resolution urging Iran to comply with Security Council resolutions under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which makes any resolution enforceable by sanctions or, ultimately, by military action.

"Iran holds the key to this in its own hand," he said. "It can prevent the council from going further by giving up the pursuit of nuclear weapons, as other countries have done.

"My message to the people of Iran would be, it is not in your national self-interest to pursue a nuclear weapons capability. We have no quarrel with the people of Iran. We have a quarrel with the government that's seeking to acquire" such weapons.

Emyr Jones Parry, the British ambassador to the United Nations, said that "a diplomatic solution is what we're all looking for" and he expects a resolution by the middle of next week to respond to the report.

The Security Council was to meet informally Wednesday to discuss the IAEA findings. Two representatives -- China and Russia -- have opposed imposing sanctions, but the other three permanent members -- the United States, France and Britain -- favor a tougher response.

Senior U.S. State Department officials said that they found "no surprises" upon first glance at the IAEA document and they are reviewing it to see if its phrasing differs from previous reports.

The report indicates that questions remain about Iran's P2 centrifuges and that the country hasn't provided a requested document on metal casting for a potential bomb core, diplomats said.

Because of gaps in the agency's knowledge concerning Iran's centrifuge program and "the role of the military in Iran's nuclear program, the agency is unable to make progress in its efforts to provide assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran," the report said.

On Friday, the president of the U.N. General Assembly, Swedish Foreign Minister Jan Eliasson, warned that any military action against Iran could bring "catastrophic consequences both politically and economically," the AP reported.

Ministers from the five permanent member nations on the Security Council, plus Germany, will meet in New York on May 9 to discuss possible next steps in dealing with Iran, the State Department said.

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
Add Comment