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. Iran rejects UN nuclear snap inspections
TEHRAN, Nov 24 (AFP) Nov 24, 2007
Iran on Saturday rejected the UN atomic watchdog's demand for more inspections of its nuclear sites after the body urged the country to open up its doors, the ISNA news agency reported.

The call by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) came as it wrapped up a two-day debate on Iran's disputed atomic drive on Friday.

It also called on Iran to suspend uranium enrichment, a demand which Iran has vehemently rejected.

"It is too soon to talk about acceptance of the additional protocol. If one day we wanted to talk about an additional protocol, it is certainly not today," said the head of Iran's atomic energy organisation, Gholam Reza Aghazadeh.

He was referring to an additional protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) signed by Iran that allowed the IAEA to have extended access to nuclear sites for snap inspections.

Iran has stopped implementing the protocol and it resumed uranium enrichment after the Vienna-based IAEA decided to report the controversial activities to the UN Security Council.

Tehran has so far been slapped with two sets of Security Council sanctions for refusing to halt uranium enrichment.

The enrichment issue forms the crux of the current standoff with Iran, which the West suspects is pursuing and even expanding the process in a covert drive to build a bomb.

Iran insists it is merely seeking technology to generate electricity for a growing population.

On Thursday, IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said it had seen an increased level of cooperation from Iran in answering questions about the past, but the agency's knowledge of Tehran's current programme had "diminished" since 2006.

The UN nuclear chief regretted that Iran's cooperation was more "reactive than pro-active."

Aghazadeh also said the IAEA will send a delegation to Iran on December 11 to discuss nuclear contamination at an unnamed university, under an accord with the IAEA to answer outstanding questions on its nuclear programme.

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