No Delay in IAEA’s Report on Iran

A02439168.jpgTEHRAN (FNA) – The International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed ElBaradei will submit its long-awaited report on Iran’s nuclear program to the Board of Governors on March 3rd, IAEA sources said.

On Monday, diplomats maintained that the UN’s report on Iran’s nuclear activities could be delayed due to disagreements between atomic watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei and his technical staff.

However, IAEA sources told Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) that ElBaradei would submit his report to the board as scheduled.

During his visit to the Iranian capital last month, the IAEA chief hailed Iran’s cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog and reached an agreement with Iranian officials to settle all outstanding issues regarding Iran’s nuclear program by mid-February.

This is while the world’s major powers are mulling a third round of sanctions against Iran to pressure the country into abandoning its nuclear rights.

Yet, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad again insisted here in Tehran on Monday that his country had an inalienable right to nuclear energy and would “not back down an inch” in the international nuclear standoff.

Ahmadinejad once again declared that the Iranian nuclear dossier was “closed.”

The US is at loggerheads with Iran over Tehran’s independent and home-grown nuclear technology. Washington has laid much pressure on Iran to make it give up the most sensitive and advanced part of the technology, which is uranium enrichment, a process used for producing nuclear fuel for power plants.

Washington’s push for additional UN penalties contradicted a recent report by 16 US intelligence bodies that endorsed the civilian nature of Iran’s programs. Following the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and a similar report by the IAEA head in November which praised Iran’s truthfulness about key aspects of its past nuclear activities, Russia and China increased resistance to any further punitive measures by the Security Council.

Tehran says it never worked on atomic weapons and wants to enrich uranium merely for civilian purposes, including generation of electricity, a claim substantiated by the NIE and IAEA reports.

Iran has insisted it would continue enriching uranium because it needed to provide fuel to a 300-megawatt light-water reactor it was building in the southwestern town of Darkhovin.

Not only many Iranian officials, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but also many other world nations have called the UN Security Council pressure unjustified, especially in the wake of recent IAEA reports saying Iran had increased cooperation with the agency.

US President George W. Bush, who finished a tour of the Middle East earlier this month has called on his Arab allies to unite against Iran.

But hosting officials of the regional nations dismissed Bush’s allegations, describing Tehran as a good friend of their countries.

Bush’s attempt to rally international pressure against Iran has lost steam due to the growing international vigilance, specially following the latest IAEA and US intelligence reports.

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