IAEA tackles Iran on nuclear imports





By Mark Huband, Security Correspondent

Financial Times, 15 June 2004

Iran was accused yesterday of failing to co-operate fully with United Nations nuclear inspectors, who demanded that Tehran provide clear information on its nuclear activities within a few months.

Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), yesterday challenged Iran to be “pro-active and fully transparent” in its response to demands by the UN nuclear watchdog that it give details on its imports of nuclear material.

Mr ElBaradei’s demands were made at a meeting of the IAEA board, which was discussing a report on Iran’s nuclear programme. IAEA inspectors have been examining Iranian installations since Tehran agreed last October to halt uranium enrichment and permit intrusive inspections to its nuclear sites in order to prove that it was not developing nuclear weapons.

The IAEA report cast doubt on Iran’s claim that components found at sites in the country were contaminated by enriched uranium before being imported. Inspectors have also questioned why Iran placed large orders to import magnets for use in centrifuges that could enrich uranium when it had previously said the components were produced in Iran. The report says the information provided by Iran on this issue is unlikely to “contribute further to the resolution of the contamination issue unless more information becomes available about the origin of the components”.

Hossein Mousavian, Iran’s senior delegate to the IAEA meeting, said yesterday that Iran was providing “full co-operation” to the inspectors, supplying all information requested and narrowing down the range of outstanding issues.

But Mr ElBaradei said yesterday: “Clearly this pattern of engagement on the part of Iran is less than satisfactory if it wishes to build confidence in the international community that Iran has indeed revealed the full extent of its nuclear programme. After a year of difficulties encountered by the inspectors, Iran needs to be pro-active and fully transparent.”



© Copyright The Financial Times Ltd 2008.