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. Iran not an 'immediate threat': UN nuclear chief
ROME, Sept 21 (AFP) Sep 21, 2007
UN atomic chief Mohamed ElBaradei said Thursday that Iran does not currently pose an immediate threat as international tension over Tehran's nuclear programme continued to rise.

"Iran does not consitute a certain and immediate threat for the international community," ElBaradei said in an interview with Italian RAI television.

The IAEA director called for international leaders to "give peace a chance," underlining that no hidden radioactive substances or underground production sites had yet been found.

However, he admitted: "Iran has not yet completely revealed all the aspects of its nuclear programme."

Once again, ElBaradei called for dialogue, underling that a calendar was in place for inspections concerning the nature of Iran's atomic programme.

"If we do not obtain satisfying results in two or three months, only then will we be able to draw negative consequences," said ElBaradei, in Italy for a general conference of the UN watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency.

Western powers are to meet in Washington on Friday to discuss a new UN Security Council sanctions resolution in the nuclear standoff and the US administration is frustrated at the lack of progress being made.

The United States and France want tougher sanctions against Iran, which has denied western allegations that it is covertly developing a nuclear weapon.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called Wednesday for diplomatic action "with teeth" against Iran's nuclear programme and French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday insisted that Tehran was seeking to build a nuclear bomb.

Sarkozy said France did not want a war with Iran over its nuclear programme, after his Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner recently warned of a possible military action.

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