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. All Iranian nuclear questions must be answered: France
PARIS, Feb 14 (AFP) Feb 14, 2008
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told atomic watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei on Thursday that the six major powers expect Iran to answer all the outstanding questions over its nuclear programme.

Kouchner "stressed that the Six (Germany, Britain, France, China, Russia and the United States) want Iran to respond to all the demands of the international community as set out by" the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency, a statement from his ministry said after the two met in Paris.

He "reaffirmed the support of France to the efforts of the Agency to obtain complete and honest responses fron Iran on all its nuclear activities past and present, including those that can have a military dimension," it said.

Western nations, led by the United States, accuse Iran of seeking to develop the atomic bomb, a charge which Tehran rejects, insisting that its nuclear activities are entirely peaceful.

ElBaradei and Kouchner discussed "deadlines to come, including the possible adoption of a third resolution of sanctions at the United Nations Security Council," the foreign ministry statement said.

The UN Security Council has already slapped two rounds of sanctions on the Islamic republic, and the United States and European countries are keen for a third set in the face of Iran's continued defiance on the enrichment issue.

A final decision is likely to hinge on a new report by IAEA chief Mohammed ElBaradei, scheduled for release later this month.

Iran insists it has a right to uranium enrichment under the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty to make nuclear fuel to meet increasing energy needs of its population.

ElBaradei's previous report in November found that Iran had made important progress in answering some of the key questions surrounding its controversial nuclear drive.

Diplomats in Vienna, the headquarters of the IAEA, said Thursday that Iran had started feeding small amounts of uranium gas into advanced centrifuges, in what could be an important step towards mastering the technology used to make both nuclear energy and atomic bomb material.

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