Arms Team, Iran OK Nuke Inspection Plan
By ALI AKBAR DAREINI
Associated Press Writer
TEHRAN, Iran (AP)--Representatives of the U.N. nuclear watchdog reached ``total agreement'' with Iran on measures to prove the country's nuclear program is peaceful, a senior Iranian official said Saturday.
The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency had no immediate comment after an IAEA team completed key negotiations with the Iranians on their nuclear program.
The IAEA has set an Oct. 31 deadline for Iran to prove it is not producing nuclear weapons--as the United States strongly suspects. Iran has protested the deadline and said its nuclear program is to generate electricity as its oil reserves decline.
Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran's representative to the IAEA, did not say whether Tehran would meet the deadline. But he told The Associated Press that Iran has already addressed some of the IAEA's questions about its nuclear program and would respond to new questions ``in the shortest possible time.''
``The train has started to move and we have agreed to push the train to move faster,'' Salehi said.
He said Iran and the IAEA had ``approved a plan of action'' by which they would work out ``a timetable to achieve the expected results.''
``The two sides reached total agreement,'' he said, adding that the agency's delegation left Tehran on Friday ``with complete satisfaction.''
Pierre Goldschmidt, an IAEA deputy director general, and another top agency official held two days of talks in Tehran. An IAEA inspection team is also in Tehran to carry out routine inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities, Salehi said.
Iran agreed to provide the IAEA with a list of imported equipment that had been contaminated, he said.
In recent weeks Iran has twice confirmed that particles of weapons-grade uranium had been found in separate places in the country. The government said the particles came from imported nuclear equipment that had been contaminated.
``The Oct. 31 deadline is not the plan of action for us,'' Salehi said. ``The important thing is that we've reached agreements to work together and there was a breakthrough in the talks.''
Failure to satisfy the IAEA would result in Iran's being referred to the U.N. Security Council, which could impose sanctions.
President Mohammad Khatami said Thursday that ``in spite of the recent hue and cry, Iran is not worried about showing transparency in its peaceful nuclear program.''
Officials have said Iran would do all it could to avoid being reported to the Security Council, but have stressed that they have the right to develop a peaceful nuclear program.
Iran is a signatory of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which bans the spread of nuclear weapons. http://www.news-journal.com/news/content/news/ap_story.html/Intl/AP.V9027.AP-Iran-Nuclear.html;COXnetJSessionID=12ucYptcwTE4LACiDjJ2415mtkRhUR2LRzNzQNN6kDer3MFSP7if!477799195?urac=n&urvf=10652831649140.3017480702291647
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Summit Leaves Iran, North Korea Questions Unanswered
Arms Control Today
Despite what they described as open, very frank discussions about Irans and North Koreas nuclear programs, U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin concluded their Sept. 26-27 talks at Camp David without any concrete decisions on how to address the crises.
At a joint press conference Sept. 27, Bush said the United States and Russia share a goal
to make sure Iran doesnt have a nuclear weapon or a nuclear weapons program. Putin maintained that Russia has no desire and no plans to contribute in any way to the creation of weapons of mass destruction, either in Iran or in any other spot, region in the world. He noted that Russias decision to help Iran build a nuclear reactor at Bushehr is in full compliance with the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and agreed with Bush that both countries will continue to urge Iran to comply with International Atomic Energy Agency requirements.
The United States has criticized Russias assistance to Iran in constructing the $800 million reactor and providing nuclear fuel for the plant. Russia has maintained that it will require Iran to return any spent fuel, although the two countries have yet to sign an agreement enforcing this pledge. (See ACT, January/February 2003.) Concern over Irans nuclear energy program escalated in September after international investigators detected traces of highly enriched uranium in two facilities. (See Concern Heats Up Over Irans Alleged Nuclear Program, p. 20.)
Both presidents agreed that North Korea must cease its nuclear weapons program. At the press briefing, Bush reiterated his call for North Korea to completely, verifiably, and irreversibly end its nuclear programs. Putin, however, also pressed the United States to offer Pyongyang guarantees in this sphere of security, drawing attention to U.S. reluctance to provide such explicit guarantees. (See U.S. Shows More Flexibility in North Korea Talks) On the Iraq front, Bush failed to secure military or financial support from Putin for Iraqs reconstruction.
Also during the summit, both sides discussed implementation of the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, which entered into force in May 2003. (See ACT, June 2003.) The Bilateral Implementation Commission, which is scheduled to meet twice yearly, has yet to convene. The commissions first meeting may be scheduled later this fall, in late October or early November. http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2003_10/Summit.asp
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