Home / International / International -- Update Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read
IAEA Opens Discussions over Iran's Nuclear Program
Adjust font size:

The board of the UN nuclear watchdog on Wednesday opened discussions over the thorny issue of Iran's nuclear program.

The board of governors' meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) finally moved on to the key issue after two days of discussions over nuclear safety and technology.

The IAEA board is to consider its next move after it decided on Feb. 4 to report Iran's case to the UN Security Council.

Discussions are likely to surround a report of Mohamed ElBaradei, the IAEA director general, on Iran's nuclear activities.

The report, which has been circulated among the IAEA board members since last week and will be handed over to the UN Security Council immediately after the board meeting, says the IAEA has no proof that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons.

But it also says clandestine activities cannot be ruled out at the moment due to insufficient information.

Member states and country groups are expected to have different interpretations of the report with the United States seeing it as proof that action is needed against Iran, preferably from the UN Security Council.

But developing countries, especially those from the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), are expected to try to keep the issue within the framework of the IAEA, or at least to let their voice be heard in the UN Security Council.

The American delegation told the board on Wednesday morning that ElBaradei's report showed that Iran was not cooperating with the IAEA, according to a diplomat attending the session.

However, it said the UN Security Council's involvement would be a gradual process, indicating that Washington is not looking for immediate sanctions against Tehran.

Washington said it supported a peaceful solution to the issue.

The message on Wednesday contrasted sharply with the remarks by a State Department official attending the meeting on Tuesday.

ElBaradei's report made it clear that troubling issues remained unresolved, said the official on condition of anonymity.

These issues include Iran's connections with the al Qaeda network, which, the official said, runs a black market for nuclear weapons technology. Questions also remain over the extent of the Iranian military's involvement in the country's nuclear program.

ElBaradei's report made it clear that Iran's leaders were forging ahead to achieve a complete nuclear fuel cycle capability. They were seeking to acquire the material, equipment and expertise to produce nuclear weapons, the official said.

The NAM countries, which comprise a total of 16 member states in the 35-nation IAEA board, coordinated their positions late on Tuesday. They are expected to counter-balance the opinion of the West.

China believes the issue should be resolved through diplomacy.

It was very important for the international community to keep the consensus of resolving the issue diplomatically under the framework of the IAEA, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing told a press conference in Beijing on Tuesday.

The international community should not give up efforts toward this goal, he said.

Iran resumed uranium enrichment after the Feb. 4 IAEA board resolution, which was pushed through by the United States and the EU 3 -- Britain, France and Germany.

Uranium enrichment is an advanced step in the nuclear fuel cycle that could lead to the production of atomic bombs.

The EU3 angrily scrapped negotiations with Iran and sought for the Feb. 4 resolution after Tehran removed the seals of the IAEA and resumed nuclear fuel research in January.

Iran temporarily agreed in November 2003 to suspend nuclear fuel activities in exchange for political and trade incentives. But it resumed uranium conversion, a step before uranium enrichment, in August 2005.

(Xinhua News Agency March 9, 2006)

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read

Related Stories
China Calls for Diplomatic Solution to Iran Nuclear Issue
Iran Accuses US of Sabotaging Efforts Toward Agreement
US Backs Russian Proposal on Iran
ElBaradei: Iran Nuclear Deal Still Likely
Iran Warns Against UN Referral
Iran Ready to Accept Russia's Proposal
EU3, Iran in Last-ditch Meeting
SiteMap | About Us | RSS | Newsletter | Feedback
Copyright © China.org.cn. All Rights Reserved     E-mail: webmaster@china.org.cn Tel: 86-10-88828000 京ICP证 040089号