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. Iran sees no obligation to IAEA despite nuclear deadlock
TEHRAN, Nov 19 (AFP) Nov 19, 2008
Iran said it has no further obligation to the International Atomic Energy Agency even after the UN watchdog said in a report on Wednesday it needs more cooperation on Tehran's disputed nuclear drive.

"This report shows that Iran -- has fulfilled its legal obligation completely. Therefore having further expectation (from Iran) is illogical and can not be carried out," Iran's IAEA ambassador told the Fars news agency.

"The message of (IAEA chief Mohamed) ElBaradei is that inspections have completely returned to normal and are continuing without impediment," Ali Asghar Solnanieh said.

The Vienna-based IAEA in a restricted report, a copy of which was obtained by AFP, said: "Contrary to the decisions of the (UN) Security Council, Iran has not suspended its enrichment-related activities."

And "as a result of the lack of cooperation by Iran in connection with the alleged studies and other associated key remaining issues of serious concern, the agency has not been able to make substantive progress," it added.

"Iran needs to provide the agency with substantive information to support its statements and provide access to relevant documentation and individuals in this regard," ElBaradei said in the report.

A senior UN official said: "It's gridlock ... There's been no progress or no communication whatsoever on possible military dimension."

The "studies" refer to documents collected from a wide range of intelligence sources that appear to suggest Iran may have been trying to develop a nuclear warhead, convert uranium and test high explosives and a missile re-entry vehicle.

Iran has repeatedly dismissed the allegations as "baseless" and the evidence used to back up the charges as "fabricated."

Soltanieh insisted that the Islamic republic had replied to the "studies" and said: "Our obligations are clear, they are the IAEA charter, the non-proliferation treaty and the agreement we have with the IAEA."

Tehran, while allowing the IAEA inspections and supervision, has maintained that as a signatory to the NPT it has the right to enrich uranium as fuel for nuclear power plants.

But the West spearheaded by Iran's archfoe Washington says that Tehran's nuclear programme is a covert one aimed for military purposes. Iran denies the charges, saying it is for generating electricity.

Tehran has been slapped with three sets of Security Council sanctions over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment.

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