Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

To: DoctorZIn
U.N. nuclear agency warns Iran 'time is running out'
By Roula Khalaf in Vienna
Published: October 9, 2003

The chief United Nations nuclear inspector on Thursday called on Iran to accelerate its co-operation with his agency. He warned that time was running out for Tehran to comply with an end of October deadline and provide full transparency to allay international concerns over its nuclear programme.

Tehran insists its nuclear programme is aimed at peaceful energy production, but the US maintains it is a front for developing nuclear weapons.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, said teams of inspectors sent last week were given access to sites they had requested and received fresh information from the Iranian authorities.

But he stressed that the amount and flow of information remained inadequate.

The IAEA's governing board last month set a deadline of the end of October for Iran to provide inspectors with assurances that it had not diverted nuclear material to weapons use. Failure to meet the deadline would escalate the dispute by sending it to the UN Security Council, where the US would seek a statement that increased diplomatic pressure on Iran and countries that had assisted its nuclear programme.

The IAEA board's pressure on Iran appears to have intensified the debate between hardliners and reformists within the Tehran regime over the merits of co-operation.

Mohamed Khatami, the president, this week said Iran would provide all necessary co-operation to prove it was not developing nuclear weapons.

"They've promised information will be forthcoming but it has not yet been provided," Mr ElBaradei said. "The central question is whether Iran has any [uranium] enrichment activities that we have not been informed about. On that question I haven't got satisfactory information."

Iran has also said it would provide a list of all imported components to address an important sticking point with the IAEA and convince inspectors that traces of weapons-grade uranium found at two sites were the result of contaminated equipment purchased from abroad.

Mr ElBaradei, however, stressed that he needed to know the origin of the components to verify Iranian assertions.

Iran has insisted that it would continue enriching uranium despite the IAEA governing board's call for it to suspend such activities. Mr ElBaradei said the suspension of uranium enrichment was demanded as a confidence-building measure and failure to comply with the request would not constitute a violation of Iran's Safeguards Agreement.

Iran has also given conflicting signals as to whether it would sign an agreement, known as the additional protocol, to allow more intrusive inspections of nuclear sites. Mr ElBaradei said the agreement was essential for the future, but was not his immediate priority.

Speaking in London on Thursday, John Bolton, US undersecretary of state for arms control, predicted Iran would "co-operate a little" with the IAEA, to buy time.

He said Iran would be capable of producing nuclear weapons "towards the end of the decade".
22 posted on 10/10/2003 9:32:39 AM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife ("Life isn't fair. It's fairer than death, is all.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies ]

To: Pan_Yans Wife
Missing Israeli navigator alive and held in prison near Tehran

Israeli navigator Ron Arad, missing since his plane came down over Lebanon in 1986, is alive and being detained in a prison near Tehran, three exiled Iranian officials revealed.

Top-selling Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot stressed however that it was unable to check the reports, which come at a sensitive time in negotiations for a prisoner exchange between Israel and the Tehran-backed Lebanese militia Hezbollah.

The newspaper's sources were two intelligence officers and a diplomat who fled Iran in recent years.

"He was very thin, weighing about 60 kilograms (130 pounds). He was in a wheelchair. He had quite a thin beard. His face was wrinkled, he was staring into space and had a sad look," said one of them, who reportedly saw Arad three years ago.

"One source said that when Ron Arad was imprisoned in Tehran in 1998, he was hospitalized twice for heart trouble," the newspaper wrote Friday.

According to the Yediot, Arad tried to escape his captors while still in Lebanon, was transferred to Syria in 1994 and later to Iran.

"Before Ron Arad's transfer to Iran, it was decided to operate on his knees in order to paralyze the lower part of his legs, with the purpose of preventing him from having any possibility of attempting to escape," the paper said.

Arad's family has been leading a campaign to ensure the fate of the navigator, widely believed dead, is not separated from that of other Israelis involved in a possible prisoner swap.

According to Israeli public radio, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon held a special cabinet meeting Friday to define his government's position on the issue.

Health Minister Danny Naveh was expected to travel to Egypt early next week to meet Azzam Azzam, an Israeli serving a life sentence of hard labour there for spying and who could also be included in an exchange, the radio added.

In October 2000, Hezbollah captured three Israeli soldiers -- whom Israel believes dead -- in a disputed border area. They also seized businessman Elhanan Tannenbaum, a reserve colonel who the guerrilla group alleges was a spy.

The Israeli judiciary has authorised publication of the circumstances of Tannenbaum's capture, court sources said, but the radio said his family would appeal the ruling, arguing the information could affect his chances of being released.

Israel holds around 20 Lebanese detainees, including Shiite Muslim fundamentalist leaders Abdel Karim Obeid and Mustafa Dirani, who were captured to be used as a bargaining chip in a prisoner swap with Hezbollah.

23 posted on 10/10/2003 9:49:00 AM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife ("Life isn't fair. It's fairer than death, is all.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies ]

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson