US: Iran nuke info pledge "first step" in right direction
Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - ©2003 IranMania.com
WASHINGTON, Oct 21, (AFP)- The United States, which has relentlessly campaigned to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, cautiously welcomed Tehran's pledge to open its nuclear program to intrusive inspections.
The White House said Tehran's compliance with the promise to open Iran's nuclear program to inspectors and work with the UN nuclear watchdog agency was a move in the right direction.
"It would be a positive step in the right direction. Full compliance by Iran will now be essential," spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters as US President George W. Bush made an overnight stop in Singapore on an official visit.
On Tuesday, yielding to international demands for it to prove it is not developing nuclear weapons, Iran agreed to allow tougher inspections of its nuclear sites and to halt uranium enrichment.
In Vienna, the top official with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohamed ElBaradei said that, in response to Tehran's promise of full cooperation, the body expected a swift and "complete declaration of all its past nuclear activities".
Stretched by military engagement in Iraq and aiming to resolve the crisis over North Korea's nuclear weapons drive, Washington has said it would favor a diplomatic solution to the Iran nuclear issue.
The White House spokesman underlined that Iran would have to totally conform to demands by the IAEA to prove it was not seeking to make an atomic weapon.
The IAEA has set an October 31 deadline for Tehran to conform to a whole series of measures to prove its nuclear program is not bellicose.
On Tuesday, Iran agreed to give the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Britain guarantees by signing the additional Non-Proliferation Treaty, suspending all uranium enrichment activities and showing cooperation and "total transparence" to the nuclear watchdog agency.
At the US State Department, deputy spokesman Adam Ereli called the pledge "a first step and this is only a first step."
"We will be watching to see whether they do that."
He said Washington was most interested in compliance from Iran.
"The requirements of the IAEA and the requirements of the NPT (nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) are not renegotiable and that remains the case today," Ereli said.
He declined to comment on whether Tehran might agree to international cooperation on its civil nuclear program in response. "What steps after they fulfill the requirements are another issue. But this is a first step."
A senior US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters that "if Iran does everything it's supposed to do it will have the same rights and access to technology as any other country."
Ereli sought to play down the impression that the European approach to maintain dialogue with the Islamic republic had produced better results than Washington's hardline stance.
The United States broke off relations with Iran 23 years ago, and Bush included the country in his "axis of evil".
Ereli commended efforts of the British, French and German foreign ministries in gaining Tehran's agreement, and said: "We share the same goal."
He said that Secretary of State Colin Powell, who is in Kenya, had discussed the matter Tuesday with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.
"The three governments made an effort to keep us informed of their plans. This statement today is an indication of what can be achieved when we all work together to send the same firm message that Iran needs to fulfill its obligations," Ereli added. http://www.iranmania.com/News/ArticleView/Default.asp?NewsCode=18895&NewsKind=Current%20Affairs
posted on 10/22/2003 2:24:49 AM PDT
by F14 Pilot
Iran: Nuke Deal With EU States Isolates U.S.
Wednesday, October 22, 2003
FOX News Webpage
TEHRAN, Iran Iran's nuclear agreement with three European states is a "victory" that isolates the United States, Iran's representative to the U.N. nuclear agency said Wednesday.
The foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany secured a commitment Tuesday from Iranian officials to suspend uranium enrichment and to sign an additional protocol to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty that gives U.N. inspectors the right of unfettered access to the nation's nuclear sites.
"A big conspiracy has been foiled ... (and) the United States has been isolated," Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, told state-run television.
He said the United States had sought to bring Iran's nuclear program before the U.N. Security Council. Iranian officials want to avoid their nuclear program going before the council, since it could impose sanctions.
The commitment, announced after a day of talks in Tehran between the European ministers and Iranian officials, came as Iran faced an Oct. 31 deadline to prove to the IAEA that its nuclear program is peaceful. If Iran fails to satisfy the IAEA, the U.N. agency is expected to refer the matter to the Security Council.
The United States, which strongly suspects Iran has a secret program to build nuclear bombs, cautiously welcomed Tuesday's agreement.
President Bush told reporters in Indonesia Wednesday he was grateful to the European ministers "for taking a very strong universal message to the Iranians that they should disarm."
"The Iranians, it looks like they're accepting the demands of the free world, and now it's up to them to prove that they've accepted the demands. It's a very positive development," Bush said.
The joint statement released at the end of the Europeans' visit gave no timeframe for Iran's signing the additional protocol. Nor did it say for how long Iran would suspend uranium enrichment.
But late Tuesday, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Hasan Rowhani, said Iran would sign the protocol before the next IAEA board meeting on Nov. 20.
Also Tuesday, Iran agreed to tell the IAEA the origin of traces of weapons-grade uranium that the agency's inspectors had discovered at two facilities, said diplomats in Vienna, where the agency is based. The diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity.
IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei has called those traces the most troubling aspect of Iran's nuclear activities. Iran says the contamination stemmed from equipment it imported, but it had been reluctant to name the country of origin. Once the agency knows where the equipment comes from, it can test the truth of Iran's claims.
Iranian representative Salehi said Tuesday's agreement "showed the United States that global issues cannot be resolved by war and destruction, but by dialogue."
"It is a victory for us, the EU and the international community," Salehi added. "I believe Iran's case will be resolved within the IAEA."
The three European ministers promised that if Iran does meet its commitments, their countries would help it acquire peaceful nuclear technology.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he appreciated the efforts of Iran and the European foreign ministers and urged Iran to "further cooperate" with the IAEA to resolve all outstanding issues.
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said Wednesday his government was looking forward receiving information from the IAEA on its expanded cooperation with Tehran.
"Russia is prepared to continue cooperating with Iran, including in the nuclear sphere, in strict compliance with international obligations," Ivanov said, according to the Interfax and ITAR-Tass news agencies. Russia is helping Iran build its first nuclear reactor.
However, Israel's military intelligence chief, Maj. Gen. Aharon Zeevi-Farkash, warned Tuesday that if Iran completed its uranium enrichment program, it would be able to produce its own nuclear weapons without outside help within one year.
Israeli officials charge that Iran is covertly acquiring nuclear arms know-how, at least some of it from countries of the former Soviet Union. Iran denies such allegations. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,100859,00.html
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