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UN atomic watchdog urges speedy Iranian cooperation on nuclear programme

UN atomic watchdog urges speedy Iranian cooperation on nuclear programme

Mohamed ElBaradei
The head of the United Nations agency entrusted with curbing the spread of nuclear weapons today called for an extra effort and speedier cooperation by Iran to build the necessary confidence that its nuclear programme is solely for peaceful purposes.

"We need to talk to some people who have been involved in the illicit trafficking network," International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei said in a press statement at the end of a meeting of the agency's board of governors at its Vienna headquarters.

"I expressed hope that some of these issues will have been resolved by September. The ball, as I mentioned before, again is in Iran's court," he added.

The IAEA has previously determined that Iran for almost two decades concealed its nuclear activities in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Iran has consistently denied it is seeking nuclear weapons, insisting its programme is purely for energy generation, but several countries, including the United States, insist that oil-producing country is seeking nuclear weapons.

Today, Mr. ElBaradei called for speedy cooperation from Iran. "Sometimes cooperation is a bit slow, particularly in terms of providing documents and relevant information," he said. "Because of the confidence that was lost in the past, we need an extra effort on the part of Iran to build that confidence and the more transparency they show, the faster confidence could be created."

On the positive side, Mr. ElBaradei said Iran had facilitated access to nuclear material and facilities under the NPT Additional Protocol and the Safeguards agreement and had also maintained in full the suspension of all enrichment related and reprocessing activities, "which is again positive." Enriched uranium can be used for making nuclear weapons.

The European Union (EU) is supposed to provide comprehensive proposals to Iran by the end of July or beginning of August for a diplomatic solution to the nuclear issue and Mr. ElBaradei said he was very pleased to see the US saying today that they are also lending their full support to the European dialogue.

"So, I very much hope that the diplomatic solution to the Iran issue will continue and will yield full results," he added. "In the meantime I would like to make sure that in the next few months, we should be able to come to conclusion about the past Iran nuclear programme."