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Nuclear Chief Says Iran Should Do More

Iran must do more to help out with UN atomic agency inspections and the inquest into whether Teheran is secretly developing nuclear weapons will still take some time to finish, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed ElBaradei told reporters Monday.

"I keep calling on Iran to be as proactive (as possible) and to go out of its way to help us bring some of these issues to a closure," ElBaradei said as he went into a meeting of the IAEA's 35-nation board of governors.

Iran, which seeks to legitimize its nuclear program, would like to see the IAEA drop its two-year-old inquest into this program and certify that Teheran's atomic intentions are strictly peaceful.

ElBaradei was to report orally to the board Monday.

The IAEA is also looking into other new matters, such as tunnels being built that could hide nuclear material or equipment, and has still not resolved two lingering major questions: that of Iran's research into sophisticated centrifuges that enrich uranium, which can be weapons-grade, and highly enriched uranium contamination found in Iran, according to the diplomats.

"In some cases, the receipt of information is still pending, which in turn delays our work," ElBaradei said in his speech to the board.

Iran has told the IAEA about an offer for weapons technology it received in the 1980's from the black market ring run by Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, ElBaradei said.

For the first time in seven board meetings since June 2003, ElBaradei will not be submitting a written report on Iran, as he feels he has no major revelations after releasing a comprehensive report last November.

The issue has flared in the United States in the wake of a deal signed on Sunday between Russia and Iran.

Under the agreement, Russia will provide Iran with nuclear fuel.

While the US has expressed discontent at the deal but both Russia and Iran have said the fuel is for peaceful purposes only.

(China Daily March 1, 2005)


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