Vienna, Nov. 10 (Reuters): The UN nuclear watchdog will say in a new report that it has found no signs of a secret atomic weapons programme in Iran, diplomats said today.
“They don’t have any indications of a weapons programme,” a Western diplomat, who follows the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) closely, said. In Moscow, Iran told Russia it was temporarily suspending its disputed uranium enrichment programme from today and was giving a letter to the IAEA agreeing to sign a more intrusive inspection regime under the Additional Protocol.
“I officially announce that today we are giving to the IAEA a letter agreeing with the additional protocol. From today we are temporarily suspending our process of uranium enrichment,” Hassan Rohani, head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, told Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The US, which labelled Iran a member of an “axis of evil” with North Korea and pre-war Iraq, accuses Iran of using its nuclear energy programme as a front for developing an atomic weapon. Tehran vehemently denies this accusation. “If Iran’s intentions are peaceful, why did it engage in a long-term pattern of... violations and evasions regarding a number of its nuclear activities,” US ambassador to the UN in Vienna, Kenneth Brill, said.
The latest findings of IAEA inspectors will be detailed in a report on Iran that IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei will send out to diplomats on the 35-nation Board of Governors this week.
In a declaration to the IAEA on its nuclear programme before an October 31 deadline, Iran acknowledged not telling the UN about all its activities.
Another Western diplomat said: “We are not expecting any serious omissions. But we are not expecting the new report to be conclusive. It will say that more work needs to be done to reach a conclusion on this and that.”
Two previous IAEA reports on Iran in June and August listed repeated failure by Iran to declare nuclear facilities and activities to the UN agency as required under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which Tehran signed in 1970.
The board will discuss the new report on November 20, when Washington will be pushing for the board to declare that Iran violated its NPT obligations. But one diplomat said Washington had little chance of getting the board to declare Iran in non-compliance with the NPT at this month's meeting. Such a finding would require reporting Iran to the UN Security Council.
Diplomats said since Iran has complied with a deal made last month with France, Germany and Britain, the US was isolated, and there was little chance other EU members on the IAEA board would support a non-compliance verdict against Iran. On October 21, Iranian officials told the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Britain that Tehran would not only sign the Additional Protocol permitting tougher inspections, but would temporarily stop enriching uranium to build confidence.