Framework set for Iran's cooperation with UN nuclear watchdog: official
TEHRAN (AFP) Oct 04, 2003
Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency have set the "dimensions and the framework" for IAEA inspections of Teheran's nuclear facilities, a senior Iranian nuclear official said Saturday.

Ali Akber Salehi, Iran's IAEA representative, did not specify what the "dimensions" were, but said discussions held with IAEA delegation head Pierre Goldschmidt "ended in total optimism and the satisfaction of both parties."

Salehi, whose remarks were reported by Iranian state television, did not specifically say to what extent the Iranians would cooperate with inspectors, whose new mission in Iran has been described as "decisive" by the IAEA.

However, he put forward "new questions" which would he believed would be answered "in a short time." Iran, he said, was waiting to clear up certain "ambiguities" -- the argument used by Iranian officials to explain their reticence to accept stricter control over their nuclear program.

In a resolution on September 12, IAEA gave Iran until October 31 to guarantee it was and will not develop atomic weapons under the cover of its civil nuclear program.

The UN Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) calls on Tehran to sign, ratify and immediately implement without condition the additional protocol of the NPT and "to conform with it here and now."

Iranian officials are keen to prevent the issue from being forwarded to the UN Security Council, which in turn could impose sanctions for non-compliance.

With the arrival of the IAEA mission, Iranians must decide whether or not to apply the protocol, and furnish "unlimited access" to sites the agency deems necessary.

Several government officials have said that Tehran will take every measure to avoid the Security Council.

President Mohammed Khatami declared Thursday that Iran "will continue its cooperation with IAEA despite the (its) inappropriate resolution."

Highly influential former president Ali Akbar Hachemi-Rafsanjani posed four conditions Friday on signing the additional protocol, including no inspections in non-nuclear military sites and places of worship.