UN finds no sign of nuclear arms in Iran, diplomats say

Business Day

Tuesday, 11 November 2003

VIENNA The United Nation's (UN's) nuclear watchdog would say in a report to be issued this week it had found no signs of a secret atomic weapons programme in Iran, diplomats said yesterday.
"They don't have any indications of a weapons programme," said a western diplomat, who follows the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) closely.

Iran told the Russia government it was temporarily suspending its uranium-enrichment programme from yesterday, and was giving a letter to the agency agreeing to a more intrusive inspection regime.

"I officially announce that today we are giving to the IAEA a letter agreeing with the additional protocol. From today we are temporarily suspending our process of uranium enrichment," Hassan Rohani, head of Iran's supreme national security council, told Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The US, which labelled Iran a member of an "axis of evil" with North Korea and prewar Iraq, accuses Iran of using its nuclear energy programme as a front for developing an atomic weapon. Tehran vehemently denies this accusation.

This June US ambassador to the UN in Vienna Kenneth Brill said: "If Iran's intentions are peaceful, why did it engage in a long-term pattern of ... violations and evasions regarding a number of its nuclear activities?"

The latest findings of agency inspectors will be detailed in a report on Iran that IAEA chief Mohamed el-Baradei will send out to diplomats on the 35-nation board of governors this week.

In a declaration to the agency on its nuclear programme before an October 31 deadline, Iran acknowledged not telling the UN about all its activities.

Nov 11 2003 07:29:13:000AM Business Day 1st Edition