Iran says cooperation with UN nuclear watchdog not only a one-way street
TEHRAN (AFP) Apr 25, 2004
Iran pledge Sunday it was committed to cooperating with the UN's atomic energy watchdog to clear up international suspicions it is secretly developing nuclear weapons, but asserted it also expecting European powers to meet their commitments to the Islamic republic.

"Based on the framework of understanding with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), we will continue our work until we clarify the ambiguities," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said.

"The presence of the IAEA's inspectors in Iran is within this framework and this will continue in the future," he added.

But Asefi again reiterated that Iran expected Britain, France and Germany to meet their side of a deal struck in October last year when Iran agreed to allow a tougher IAEA probe.

"We are expecting the IAEA and the Europeans to fulfill their obligations and normalise Iran's nuclear case there," Asefi said.

Under the deal last year, the European Union's 'big three' held out the carrot of providing peaceful nuclear assistance to Iran if the IAEA established the country was clean of a covert weapons programme.

The details of such potential assistance were not given at the time, but Iran consistently refers to the terms of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) whereby signatories commit themselves to exchange peaceful nuclear techology.

Iran, however, has yet to be given the all-clear by the IAEA, and has been chastised for failing to disclose key elements of its programme including its research on advanced P2 centrifuges capable of enriching uranium to weapons-grade.

IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei will give a report on Iran's nuclear activities to the next IAEA's board of governors meeting in June, based on the inspectors' findings to be submitted by the end of May.

Tehran vigorously denies US and Israeli allegations that it is seeking nuclear weapons, and is pressing for its dossier to be taken off the top of the IAEA's agenda during the June meeting -- something that most diplomats say is very unlikely.