US intelligence on Iran’s nuclear programme should spur talks, says UN official
A recently-released United States intelligence report concluding that there has been no ongoing nuclear weapons programme in Iran since the fall of 2003 tallies with the findings of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), its Director-General said today, calling for all parties concerned to enter into negotiations.
Mohamed ElBaradei said in a statement that the National Intelligence Estimate “should help to defuse the current crisis.”
Iran “still needs to clarify some important aspects of its past and present nuclear activities,” he said.
The intelligence should also “prompt Iran to work actively with the IAEA to clarify specific aspects of its past and present nuclear program as outlined in the work. This would allow the Agency to provide the required assurances regarding the nature of the programme.”
Iranian authorities have stated that their nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes, but other countries contend that it is driven by military ambitions.
The country’s nuclear programme has been a matter of international concern since the discovery in 2003 that it had concealed its nuclear activities for 18 years in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
In light of the new Estimate, Mr. ElBaradei urged all parties – as soon as possible – to enter negotiations, “which are needed to build confidence about the future direction of Iran’s nuclear programme” and address the concerns repeatedly expressed by the Security Council.
Talks are also necessary to generate a “comprehensive and durable solution that would normalise the relationship between Iran and the international community,” he said.
Last December, the Security Council adopted a resolution banning trade with Iran in all items, materials, equipment, goods and technology which could contribute to the country’s enrichment-related, reprocessing or heavy water-related activities, or to the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems. It tightened the measures in March, banning arms sales and expanding the freeze on assets.
This September, Mr. ElBaradei welcomed Iran’s agreement on a timeline to address all outstanding issues regarding the country’s nuclear programme.