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IAEA edges towards resolving Iran's nuclear dispute, says Jane`s Defense Weekly

London, Aug 11, IRNA -- The International Atomic Energy Agency has made progress in resolving the dispute over Iran's nuclear program, according to the authoritative Jane's Defense Weekly.

"It now appears that most of the remaining contentious issues will be resolved before an IAEA Board of Governors meeting in September, barring any major new discoveries," it suggested.

In June, the IAEA and Iran agreed on a roadmap of how to resolve outstanding issues over its nuclear program. "If successful, the September meeting could be the last at which Iran is treated as a special case by the agency," the magazine said.

Quoting sources close to the IAEA, it said that inspectors had reached a tentative conclusion that particles of enriched uranium detected in Iran came from Pakistani equipment.

The confirmation was reported to have only been possible after Islamabad gave the IAEA data to verify the uranium source and the US provided a simulation of the Pakistani nuclear program that matched the account.

"It removes many suspicions that Iran may already have manufactured its own enriched uranium," Jane's said, confirming Iran`s insistence that the particles were merely residual contamination from imported equipment.

Particles found of enriched uranium have previously been presented as a 'smoking gun`, claiming that Iran`s has a clandestine nuclear weapons program.

The weekly also confirmed that the IAEA believes it has more satisfactory picture of Iran's controversial centrifuge developments, while also providing evidence that dismisses recent US official's claims that a site at Lavizan Shiyanj was suspicious.

'IAEA inspection of and environmental samples from the site revealed that the topsoil had not been removed -- nor was there evidence of nuclear activity' as claimed by the US, it said.

While the US has been putting pressure on agency members to refer the case to the UN at next month's meeting, diplomats based in Vienna were reported to be still hesitant to refer the issue to the Security Council.

"What makes you think there will be in agreement in New York when there is no agreement here?" one diplomat was quoted saying, referring to the difference in views among the council's permanent members on how to address the dispute over Iran's program.

According to Jane's, diplomats in Vienna have further pointed out that the UN also failed when pressured by the US to act when North Korea violated the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The belief of the magazine was that September's meeting of the IAEA board 'could be the last at which Iran is treated as a special case'.

... Payvand News - 8/11/04 ... --

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