Iran Already in Breach of Nuke Treaty, US Official Says
July 7, 2008 - 8:14 PM
London (CNSNews.com) - Negotiations over Iran's nuclear program continued Tuesday at the headquarters of the U.N.'s atomic agency as U.S. officials pushed for further pressure on the Iranians to disclose information about the country's reactors.
Earlier, the head of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) also called on Iran to "show proactive and accelerated cooperation and to demonstrate full transparency" with nuclear inspectors.
Mohamed ElBaradei said that while Iran has shown an increased willingness to cooperate, specialist inspectors still didn't have enough information to determine the real nature of the country's nuclear program.
ElBaradei called on Iran to provide the IAEA "with a complete and accurate declaration of all its nuclear activities.
"Specifically, I'm going to strongly urge Iran to clarify all issues relevant to its enrichment program to make sure all its enrichment activities have been declared and are under agency verification," ElBaradei told a closed-door meeting in a statement that was later released to reporters.
"Through inspections, we have been making good progress. However, the work is by no way complete, and we still have lots of ground to cover," ElBaradei said.
Iran insists its nuclear program is for civilian power-generating use, but American officials have expressed concern that the Iranians are seeking to build an atomic bomb. Supporting that claim is a recent IAEA report that found traces of enriched weapons-grade uranium at an Iranian nuclear facility.
The United States and its Western allies have called on Iran to sign the Additional Protocol of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which would allow IAEA inspectors to make unannounced visits to nuclear sites.
The IAEA is holding its board of governors meeting this week. In addition to Iran, the governors are scheduled to discuss North Korea's weapons program, monitoring in Iraq and control of radioactive substances.
The chief U.S. delegate at the meeting said Tuesday that Iran could already considered to be in breach of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
"The United States believes the facts already established would fully justify an immediate finding of noncompliance by Iran," said Kenneth Brill, according to wire reports.
"The more the agency has looked underneath the surface of Iran's program, the less the explanations offered have hung together in a plausible way," Brill stated.
Brill said the United States was willing to give Iran "a last chance to drop its evasions" before calling for sanctions in front of the U.N. Security Council.
Iran has said it is considering signing the Additional Protocol but that any such moves depend on the outcome of this week's IAEA meeting.
"We wish there will be an agreement," said chief Iranian delegate Ali Akbar Salehi. "We'll wait to see what the outcome is, but we have kept all of our options open."
Earlier, Salehi warned of "unexpected or surprising consequences" if too much pressure is put on Tehran to disclose nuclear information.
Reports from the conference said Canadian and British diplomats were considering proposing a resolution that would require Iran to provide full disclosure of its nuclear programs, a measure that could possibly include a deadline for compliance.
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