ElBaradei says Iran guilty of nuclear ''breaches''
20th of November, 2003
VIENNA, Nov. 20 The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog said on Thursday Iran had been in breach of its obligations under the global anti-nuclear weapons pact, but said the U.N. was now conducting tough inspections of Iran.
Speaking to reporters before a key meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) Board of Governors, IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said he hoped the board would pass a resolution that ''strengthens my hand'' and reacts to the ''the bad news and the good news'' about Iran's atomic programme.
''The bad news is that there have been failures and breaches and the good news is that there is a new chapter in cooperation with Iran,'' he said.
Iran has agreed to sign the Additional Protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which gives the IAEA the right to conduct more intrusive, snap inspections of atomic sites.
Although Tehran has yet to sign the document, ElBaradei said that the IAEA had begun conducting its inspections as if it had been signed and ratified.
''We are acting as if the protocol is in force and we have been getting all the access we need, both to locations and to information,'' he said, adding that there was ''a new spirit'' of cooperation in Tehran.
The IAEA said in a recent report on Iran that over the last two decades Tehran had repeatedly failed to comply with its obligations to keep the U.N. body informed of its nuclear activities. It had -- among other things -- secretly produced plutonium and enriched uranium.
The IAEA's 35-member board is meeting to discuss the report and a draft resolution circulated by France, Germany and Britain accusing Iran of ''failures to meet safeguards obligations,'' a phrasing too mild for both Washington and, diplomats say, ElBaradei. http://famulus.msnbc.com/FamulusIntl/reuters11-20-015313.asp?reg=MIDEAST