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Iran's Foreign Minister declares further cooperation with IAEA


Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi stressed in Tehran on Wednesday further cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), terming it as Iran's official stance on signing the Additional Protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, IRNA reported.

Talking to reporters upon arrival from New York visit, Kharrazi said Tehran is determined to continue its active and transparent cooperation with IAEA in line with its peaceful nuclear activities.

"We should make sure there is no obstacle in the way of our peaceful nuclear activities," Kharrazi said, questioning the guarantees which ensure that signing of the protocol would not lead to further investigation.

He stressed Iran has no hidden program to produce nuclear weapons and said all doubts should be cleared up and that Iran would be able to use its legitimate right for peaceful nuclear activities.

Asking about talks on the issue with other countries, he said that Iran is negotiating with various delegations and related decisions would be taken after the stances have become clear.

"Delegations accept all our reasoning and we have stressed that Iran has peaceful targets, he added.

Kharrazi noted, "there is no obstacle for continuation of activities in the project of Bushehr power plant."

He said peaceful nuclear cooperation with Russia will continue and added, "Russians consider the agreement as legal and the world has also accepted it."

In response to a question on the policy the government would adopt if it does not ink the protocol and the case is referred to the Security Council, the minister said, "The issue should not be referred to the Security Council. In case, a new process seems to start." He said signing the protocol is not against the Constitution and added the issue would undoubtedly be discussed in Majlis and the Expediency Council.

"The government will sign the protocol after reviewing all its aspects if it becomes sure that this would help the country's progress," he further stated.

Two IAEA officials to leave for Tehran Wednesday evening: source

An Iranian official at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in Vienna on Wednesday that a team of two senior IAEA officials will leave for Tehran later in the day for debates on Iran-IAEA cooperation in the area of nuclear activities, IRNA reported.

The official told IRNA that IAEA Deputy Director for Department of Safeguards Pierre Goldschmidt is leading the team which is expected to discuss the implementation of safeguards in the Tehran visit.

Austrian press on Wednesday quoted IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei as saying that the agency wants an unlimited access to all of Iran's nuclear sites, stressing that the IAEA cannot continue its missions without Iran's cooperation.

ElBaradei said he expected to get the full story on Iran's nuclear activities by the end of October, adding that it might take a "much longer time" for the IAEA to verify Iran's declaration.

He said the "number one priority" was understanding the nature of Iran's uranium enrichment program, adding that Tehran had yet to answer any of the outstanding questions outlined in the September 12 IAEA Board of Governors resolution, though he hoped all would be answered in the coming weeks.

The Islamic Republic is already a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). However, the IAEA is refusing to provide Iran with the nuclear expertise that under the agency's regulations it is entitled to receive.

Iran says it needs to receive guarantees before signing the additional protocol that the sanctions imposed by the West are removed and that nuclear powers help the Islamic Republic attain nuclear technology to satisfy its energy needs.

The IAEA Board of Governors last month set an October 31 deadline for Iran to prove it is pursuing peaceful nuclear programs. The resolution that was submitted by Canada, Japan and Australia also calls on Tehran to clarify its nuclear program by the end of October and to suspend its uranium enrichment program.

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