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. IAEA making 'good progress' in verification work Iran: ElBaradei
TOKYO (AFP) Oct 08, 2004
The UN nuclear watchdog is making "good progress" in its verification work in Iran but cannot yet say whether Tehran has diverted sensitive technology to weapons production, the agency chief said Friday.

Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said the agency's job was to make sure that assurances from Iranian leaders are "reflected on the ground."

"We are still in the verification process in Iran. We are making good progress there; we have not seen materials diverted towards nuclear weapons," he told an audience of some 200 at the UN University in Tokyo.

"However, we have not yet completed our job to be able to say that no undeclared activities exist in Iran," he said after delivering a speech on nuclear non-proliferation.

The IAEA board passed a resolution on September 18 calling on Iran to immediately widen a suspension of enrichment to include all uranium enrichment-related activities -- such as making centrifuges, converting yellowcake into UF6 feed gas and constructing a heavy water reactor.

Iran, facing a November 25 deadline, risks being referred to the UN Security Council if it fails to comply.

Iranian officials said Wednesday they would not bow to the demand for total suspension and were ready for confrontation.

ElBaradei, who is tipped as a possible winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize to be announced in Oslo later Friday, was on a four-day visit to Japan. He leaves Saturday after talks with senior Japanese officials.

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