Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi on Friday expressed hope that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would not be swayed by US pressure in its upcoming debates over Iran`s nuclear energy programs, IRNA reported from Tehran.
The Persian-language daily `Nassim-E Saba` quoted Kharrazi on Saturday as saying that the IAEA currently is not in a condition to make a decision on Iran`s nuclear programs, and that it is still collecting data in that regard.
"As long as the agency has not reached the conditions to make a decision [about Iran`s nuclear activities], political pressure can influence its position toward Tehran," he said.
"We hope that the agency would consider the truth with Iran`s nuclear energy programs to declare the results of their debates." The IAEA Board of Governors is set to hold a crucial meeting on September 8 to decide whether Iran has breached the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in its nuclear programs. The daily further quoted Kharrazi as stressing that Iran needs to know whether signing the additional protocol to the NPT would be enough for removing the suspicions about its nuclear programs, or whether there will be even more pressure against Tehran on its nuclear programs.
"It is only through answering these questions that a consensus will be developed in Iran for joining the protocol. Any protocol must be approved by the Majlis (Iran`s Parliament) and the MPs need to know what it is about, what commitments it will create for Iran and whether it will help remove the problems," he said.
"These questions are important to us and we need to receive answers to them. And this will be determined in our debates with the agency."
The Islamic Republic is already a signatory to the 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 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.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Kharrazi recalled the discovery of uranium by IAEA inspectors at Iran`s nuclear sites, stressing that the discovery was related to the contamination of components of nuclear facilities that Iran had bought from abroad.
"The components were second-handed and were contaminated [with uranium] before being imported into Iran," he said. "We have explained to the IAEA about this, and the agency is going to make a decision on that.... We hope the result will be that the source of contamination was outside Iran, and that the Islamic Republic has made no breach [of NPT regulations]."
Certain foreign media in July cited unnamed diplomats as alleging that samples taken from a nuclear facility in Natanz, central Iran, showed Tehran has been enriching uranium without informing the U.N. nuclear watchdog.
Tehran immediately denied the charges, stressing that the finding had been the result of the contamination of its nuclear devices it has bought from abroad.
... Payvand News - 9/6/03 ... --