Thursday, November 11, 2004

IAEA report on Iran may undermine U.S. demands -

IAEA report on Iran may undermine U.S. demands -: "IAEA report on Iran may undermine U.S. demands
11/3/2004 1:50:00 PM GMT

Mohamed ElBaradei is expected to submit a report on Iran's nuclear program next week.
A new report on UN inspections in Iran’s nuclear facilities may undermine the U.S. demand to send Tehran’s nuclear file to the UN Security Council this month, diplomats said on Wednesday.

The UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei is expected to submit a report next week during the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting in Vienna. ElBaradei’s report will summarize his agency's two-year investigation of Iran's nuclear program.

"ElBaradei plans to say in his November report on Iran that the agency has so far found no evidence of diversion (to a nuclear weapons program)," a diplomat who is familiar with the IAEA probe said.

"But he will balance that by saying that Iran's fuel cycle activities would appear to be out of proportion with the other parts of its nuclear program," the diplomat added, referring to Iran's uranium enrichment activities.

Diplomats said that ElBaradei had told the Iranians that he may write a positive report about their nuclear program if there was a constructive atmosphere in their meeting on Friday with European states who demand the Islamic republic to completely suspend its enrichment program.

One diplomat said that “ElBaradei told the Iranians that if the atmosphere in the EU three talks is positive, then his report on Iran will also be positive," adding that, “this is quite a carrot for Iran.”

The U.S. accuses Iran of covertly developing nuclear weapons. Iran denies the U.S. claims and maintains that its program is mainly aimed at the peaceful generation of electricity and insists on its right to enrich uranium under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The IAEA report will be important for the U.S. pressures to refer Tehran to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions when the watchdog's board meets on Nov. 25.

So far, the IAEA didn’t find any evidence that assert the U.S. allegations. Many diplomats said that a positive statement about Iran’s nuclear plans would remove a key legal ground for sending Iran’s dossier to the Security Council but would not make it impossible.

An IAEA spokeswoman refused to comment, saying that the report was still being written.

The Europeans are offering Iran a trade deal and nuclear technology, including a light-water research plant, in return for a suspension of enrichment.

If Iran rejects the European package, diplomats say that the Europeans would support U.S. demands that Tehran’s file be referred to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.

Diplomats in Vienna say that they expect that Iran will accept a temporary suspension of enrichment soon to avoid being sent to the Security Council. However, they said that it is unlikely that both sides reach an agreement at Friday's meeting."

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