27/11/2003

IAEA slams Iran over nuclear treaty 'breaches'

The UN nuclear watchdog agency has strongly deplored Iran’s "past breaches" of a safeguards agreement aimed at preventing the development of nuclear weapons.

While welcoming Tehran’s recent cooperation, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) warned that further serious failures would bring an "immediate response".

A resolution adopted by the Board of Governors of the IAEA in Vienna has called on Iran to "urgently complete all necessary corrective measures" and fully implement its commitment to full disclosure to ensure that nuclear activities and materials are not being diverted to "non-peaceful purposes".

The Board’s action followed a report from IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei on Iran’s breaches over an extended period of time of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), of which it is a signatory, including its failure to report efforts to enrich uranium, a potential ingredient for nuclear weapons.

“While much progress has been achieved, much work remains to be done,” Mr ElBaradei told a news conference after the Board meeting.

In a warning of a serious response to further breaches, the resolution declared that the Board “decides that, should any further serious Iranian failures come to light, the Board of Governors would meet immediately to consider, in the light of the circumstances and of advice from the Director General, all options at its disposal”.

These options include referring the matter to the Security Council, which can impose sanctions.

But the Board also acknowledged Tehran’s reaffirmation of its decision “to provide a full picture of its nuclear activities and…to implement a policy of cooperation and full transparency”.

It requested Mr ElBaradei to submit a comprehensive report on implementation of the resolution by mid-February 2004.

(gmcg)

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