Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Iran Seeking To Avoid Security Council Referral

Dow Jones Newswires:
Iran has signaled it may grant access to sites linked to possible work on nuclear weapons and other demands from the International Atomic Energy Agency to avoid being referred to the U.N. Security Council, diplomats said Tuesday.

The diplomats said a high-ranking IAEA delegation was in Tehran Tuesday to discuss the issue with Iranian officials.

Besides seeking access to two military sites, the agency also wants to interview military officials thought to be associated with what Iran calls a purely civilian nuclear program. The agency is also asking for documents linked to the country's uranium enrichment program. READ MORE

IAEA officials view those three outstanding issues as crucial to their nearly three-year probe meant to test Iranian assertions that more than 18 years of clandestine nuclear activities first discovered in 2002 were geared solely toward generating power.

Iranian foot dragging on those points contributed to a decision last month by the IAEA's 35-nation board of governors to find the country in violation of provisions of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The board also passed a resolution clearing the way for it to refer Tehran to the Security Council as early as next month.

The diplomats, who are accredited to the agency, said that - after signals from Tehran that it was ready to compromise - all of three points were being discussed between Iranian officials and the IAEA delegation, led by Olli Heinonen, an agency deputy director general.

Iran strongly denies assertions from the U.S. and its allies that its nuclear program is a cover for a weapons program or that its military is involved in nuclear activities.
An interesting development given that Larijani has been threatening to abandon the "additional" IAEA protocols and the IAEA representatives were quoted yesterday as saying: these discussions will be completely irrelevant to the recent resolution put forth by the IAEA board of governors.