Iran hands over report on nuclear programme to IAEA
VIENNA: Iran acknowledged on Thursday having been “discreet” about its nuclear programme in the past but said it had no more secrets after giving the United Nations what it called a full declaration of all its nuclear activities.
The head of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, said Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Akbar Salehi, delivered the declaration eight days ahead of an IAEA deadline for Iran to prove it has no secret atomic weapons programme as Washington alleges. “I was assured that the report I got today is a comprehensive and accurate declaration,” ElBaradei said. “It is a large set of documents. We obviously have to start our verification activities (but) it is going to take us time to go through all these documents and reconstruct the full history of the programme,” he said.
Salehi declined to give any details about the declaration, a stack of papers in a binder about one and half inches thick. “We have submitted a report that fully discloses our past activities, peaceful activities, in the nuclear field,” he said.
However, he said the secretive nature of some of Iran’s activities — which has fuelled US concerns that Iran is covertly developing an atomic weapon — was a natural response to sanctions unfairly imposed on the Islamic republic.
“The important thing to note is that Iran had to do some of its activities very discreetly because of the sanctions that have been imposed on Iran for the past 25 years,” Salehi said, adding that they were “legal activities”. “I hope we will come to the conclusion that we have seen all past nuclear activities in Iran and that all materials and activities in Iran are under (IAEA) safeguards,” ElBaradei said. Salehi reiterated his country’s commitment to a deal brokered by the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany in Tehran on Tuesday, under which Iran pledged to accept tougher IAEA inspections and suspend its uranium enrichment activities. In a play on U.S. President George W. Bush’s description of Iran, North Korea and pre-war Iraq as an “axis of evil”, Salehi said Iran and Europe had joined forces in an “axis of providence” based on dialogue and mutual respect.
French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin echoed Salehi’s comments while speaking to reporters in Ljubljana, but told Iran it must make good on its promise to come clean about its nuclear programme. “Now that we have made a path to get out of this crisis, (we need) to act on the basis of this dialogue and confidence,” he said. “It’s important...that the commitment taken by Iran becomes a fact.” Villepin said he was in close contact with ElBaradei, his German and British counterparts, and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov over Iran.
Meanwhile, a top Iranian official said Thursday Iran’s commitment to a landmark deal with Britain, France and Germany to halt its uranium enrichment activities depends on their attitude at next month’s IAEA meeting.
“We will never abandon nuclear technology,” said Hassan Rowhani, a top national security official who helped negotiate Tuesday’s accord. —Agencies
Indian N-scientist helped Iran
LAHORE: A leading Indian nuclear scientist is believed to have helped Iran build its nuclear power plant, a report said Thursday. The Hindustan Times said Dr YSR Prasad took up an assignment in Iran after he retired in July 2000 as head of the Nuclear Corporation of India. The Hindustan Times, quoting from a classified government document, said Prasad, who spent years working on India’s atomic energy programmes, did not seek government permission to go to Iran. —Daily Times Monitor