UN team heading to Iran with nuclear monitoring equipment
VIENNA (AFP) Aug 06, 2005
A UN inspection team is set to leave for Iran to install cameras "by the middle of next week" to monitor a crucial site where Iran wants to resume nuclear fuel work in defiance of the international community, a spokeswoman said Saturday.
"A safeguards team is traveling in the next couple of days to deliver and install remote camera equipment and an inspection system will be in place in the middle of next week" at the uranium conversion facility in Isfahan, Melissa Fleming, spokeswoman for the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, told AFP.
Iranian negotiator Hossein Moussavian had said Thursday in Tehran that Iran would resume preliminary fuel cycle work at Isfahan within one or two days, but the IAEA has said that it needs until next week to set up monitoring at Isfahan and weigh nuclear material there.
The IAEA, which has been monitoring Iran's suspension since November of fuel cycle work as Tehran negotiates with the European Union on its nuclear program, has placed metal seals on machines at Isfahan.
Iran, which wants the seals removed, has warned the IAEA about using delaying tactics in setting up monitoring equipment.
The European Union, which is trying to win guarantees that Iran will not develop nuclear weapons, has threatened to bring Tehran before the UN Security Council for possible sanctions if the Iranians go ahead with conversion, a first step in enriching uranium into what can be fuel for civilian power plants but also the raw material for atom bombs.
The EU offered Iran on Friday a package of trade, security and technology incentives, including a guaranteed supply of nuclear fuel, if it would give up on making such fuel itself.
The EU at the same time called an emergency meeting of the IAEA for next Tuesday in Vienna to warn Iran not to resume fuel cycle activities.
This has enraged Iran, a Western diplomat said.
"The Iranians are quite annoyed about the IAEA meeting being called before they had reacted to the EU proposals," the diplomat said.
The diplomat said the Iranians, who have said they wish to work under IAEA safeguards, may now be angry enough to break the agency's seals themselves.
"They are clear about wanting to go ahead with this facility and are not going to wait to be condemned before they do it," the diplomat said.
Iran on Saturday rejected the EU proposals.
Another diplomat close to the IAEA said the agency meanwhile is waiting for a response from the Iranians about what they plan to do at Isfahan once the monitoring system is in place.
The agency sent a letter to Iran on Saturday outlining the IAEA's plans, the diplomat said but refused to provide details.
The diplomat said the IAEA now had "about four" inspectors in Iran, visiting various sites, and that the team being sent with the camera equipment were technicians. The diplomat refused to provide more details for security reasons.
"The IAEA doesn't need to send more inspectors. The job at Isfahan can be done by one or two inspectors. It really depends on what the Iranians want to do," the diplomat said.All rights reserved. © 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.