UN nuke report on Iran seen full of open questions
Reuters - World News
May 25, 2004
VIENNA - A report on Iran by U.N. nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei, due to be circulated within days, will present many unanswered questions about Tehran's atomic activities, Western diplomats said on Tuesday.
Tehran wants the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to wrap up its inspections by next month, but Western and non-aligned diplomats on the IAEA's 35-nation board of governors said that was wishful thinking.
The inspections are aimed at verifying Tehran's statements that its atomic programme is for peaceful purposes, rather than a front for developing a nuclear bomb as Washington believes.
"It will be very interim," one Western diplomat told Reuters, referring to ElBaradei's report. "It will reflect Iran's lack of cooperation, though perhaps won't use those exact words."
"We expect that it will contain significant revelations about Iran's nuclear programme and illustrate that there are many unanswered questions," another diplomat said, adding it would take many months to answer those questions.
Iran said on Sunday if the investigation was not closed at the IAEA board meeting in June, it would "reflect the laziness of IAEA experts", not the actions of Iran.
In March, Iran cancelled a series of IAEA inspections to retaliate against an IAEA board resolution that condemned Tehran's failure to disclose designs and components for "P2" centrifuges, capable of making bomb-grade uranium.
Iran later let the inspectors return but the delay pushed the IAEA's probe back at least a month.
Diplomats on the board told Reuters Iran had made matters worse by barring inspectors from several military sites.
"We've been and continue to be disappointed by Iran's cooperation with the IAEA," one diplomat said.
Another problem has been Pakistan's refusal to let the IAEA take samples of its highly-enriched uranium to verify Tehran's explanation for traces of bomb-grade uranium found in Iran. Tehran says the traces came from contaminated Pakistani machinery.
On Friday, Iran gave the IAEA a more than 1,000-page declaration of its past and present nuclear programmes, which Iran said is complete and truthful. It could take the IAEA up to a year to verify this declaration, diplomats said.
An October 2003 declaration that Tehran said was full and accurate omitted details about potentially weapons-related nuclear research, including work on the P2 centrifuges.
The IAEA began looking closely at Iran after an exiled Iranian opposition group said in August 2002 that Tehran was hiding a uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and other facilities from the U.N. Iran later declared these sites to the IAEA.
Judge: Banned Iranian film 'The Lizard' can be screened in LA
San Jose Mercury News, CA
May 26th 2004
LOS ANGELES - A judge has ruled against an overseas film distributor who attempted to block the distribution of the controversial Iranian film "The Lizard" in the United States.
The film, a satirical movie featuring a thief disguised as a cleric, was a smash hit in Iran until authorities pulled it from theaters May 19. It won top honors at Tehran's international film festival in February and raked in about $1 million.
The film's director, Manuchehr Mohammadi, agreed to a contract to distribute the film through Atlantis Enterprises in the United States and elsewhere. The film's Iranian distributor, Kamal Mosafaye Tabrizi, sought a temporary restraining order in Los Angeles Superior Court to block the U.S. debut.
Judge Dzintra Jamavs denied that restraining order Tuesday.
Tabrizi's attorney, Patrick M. Saboorian, said he would be back in court next week if the parties can't work out a private agreement.
Among depictions that angered the conservative Iranian clergy were a man singing inside a mosque and a cleric robbing a driver and sweet-talking a young woman. In one scene, a thief escaped from prison disguised as a cleric.
Iran's hard-line clerical establishment is led by the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The film, whose Farsi name is "Marmoulak," opened in late April and had been scheduled to continue until the end of July, screening in 33 theaters in Tehran alone.