Iran set to reject IAEA report

7 September 2005

A report on the Iranian nuclear programme prepared by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is expected to be rejected as incorrect by the Iranian government.

Senior officials within the Islamic republic are understood to consider the report to contain errors and to make excessive demands on Iran as well as inspections that go beyond the additional protocol of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

"Iran's response to the report is being prepared and will be given to the IAEA soon. This response is in fact a rejection of the report by the director general, which contains errors," nuclear negotiator Ali Agha Mohammadi is quoted as saying in the local media.

Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the IAEA, outlined Iran's failure to completely allay suspicions over its nuclear programme and continued nuclear fuel work, despite calls for a suspension of such activities. Crucially, the IAEA is "not yet in a position to clarify some important outstanding issues after two and a half years of intensive inspections and investigation," the report says.

Iran insists its nuclear programme is civilian and defends its right to such activities as a signatory of the NPT. The International Institute for Strategic Studies, meanwhile, considers that Iran is still several years away from building an atomic weapon.

Even so, the EU3 of France, Germany and the UK have been trying to persuade Iran to abandon enrichment work in exchange for a package of trade and technology incentives but with continued intransigence the European negotiators are becoming increasingly impatient. Threats that the matter will be referred to the United Nations Security Council if Iran does not halt uranium enrichment by 19 September are the latest move by the EU to raise the stakes. The Security Council could impose sanctions against Tehran, although both China and Russia are understood to be reluctant to agree to such a move. Nonetheless, the two years of talks aimed at resolving the Iranian nuclear issue are in jeopardy as the Europeans lose hope that Iran will suspend its uranium conversion activities.


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