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ElBaradei renews calls on Iran to be transparent on nuclear policy


Visiting chief of UN nuclear supervisory body, Mohamed ElBaradei, speaking in Tehran on Thursday, renewed his call on Iran to adopt transparency toward its nuclear energy program, stressing that this would guarantee not only Iran's interests but also those of the international community, IRNA reported.

Iran should show full transparency and extend the required cooperation in the area of its nuclear activities so that the important issues can be resolved as soon as possible, ElBaradei said at a news conference upon his arrival here.

This, he added, will in turn guarantee the interests of Iran as well as the international community.

IAEA expects Iran to be completely reliable and transparent. Once this is accomplished, he stated, Iran's interests will be guaranteed.

Elbaradei hoped that his visit would be an opportunity for Iranian officials to clarify the issues which he was still looking forward to be resolved.

The IAEA chief arrived in Tehran Thursday morning for a one-day visit at the invitation of the Iranian government.

He is expected to discuss Iran's signing an additional protocol of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in his meetings with Iranian officials following indications that Tehran is willing to continue cooperation with IAEA.

Asked how IAEA would help Iran push forward its nuclear energy program within NPT regulations, ElBaradei said the agency first needed to solve certain issues regarding Iran's nuclear program. There are still several issues that need to be explored through expert approaches and it is natural that those issues should be resolved, he said.

The Islamic Republic is already a signatory to the NPT. However, the IAEA is refusing to provide Iran with the nuclear expertise which it is entitled to receive under the agency's regulations, arguing that Tehran must first sign the NPT's additional protocol that allows unannounced inspections of its nuclear sites.

Former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said Iran has certain conditions for signing the NPT protocol, stressing that these conditions may be the same as those of the US.

In his sermon at Tehran's Friday prayers, Rafsanjani declared that Iran's signing of the protocol must not jeopardize its security, values and sanctities, and that it must not lead to investigation of issues that are not related to the nuclear energy.

ElBaradei expressed hope that he would be able to press ahead the issue of Iran's signing the NPT protocol in his meetings with Iranian officials before the IAEA deadline on Iran is due.

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.

Asked about the rights the Islamic Republic is entitled to under the NPT protocol regarding its uranium enrichment program, the IAEA chief said the NPT has clearly specified Iran's rights in that connection just like any other country.

However, he added, what matters is that IAEA must receive assurances that Iran's nuclear energy program is peaceful and that Iran will 'clearly and fully' inform the agency about its nuclear activities.

The IAEA resolution drew the ire of Iranian officials with President Mohammad Khatami calling it as 'illegitimate, unjust and politically-motivated'.

Khatami said Iran was determined to resolve the issue of the NPT protocol, stressing however that Iran gives its national interests and security paramount significance in taking any position to that effect.

Answering a question on IAEA's inspections of Iran's military sites, ElBaradei stressed that the agency would not publicize the details of its plans to that effect.

Elbaradei said he did not believe that they would inspect the civilian and military sites that have a special significance. Rather, they would inspect the sites that are related to their work, he said.

"We are looking for certain data. If we find these data in either a military or a civilian site, we have definitely achieved our goal."

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