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ElBaradei's report on Iran's nuclear program postponed

Vienna, Nov 13, IRNA -- International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Chief ElBaradei has postponed submission of his report on Iran's nuclear programs, saying he is still waiting for the final result of the EU Big 3-Tehran negotiations, it was announced in Vienna on Friday evening.

Western diplomats said last night that the ElBaradei report on Iran's nuclear activities that was to be submitted to the IAEA Board of Governors last Friday, roughly two weeks before the 35-nation board meets on November 25, has been delayed.

They said that since the Iran-EU negotiations have not reached the final stage, the IAEA chief could not make a conclusive report as to whether Iran agreed to the European proposal for a suspension of uranium enrichment and development of the nuclear fuel cycle in exchange for a package of incentives.

Elbaradei had previously told Iranian officials that if Tehran was able to reach a consensus with the European Union's negotiators he would be open to submitting a positive report on the Iran nuclear program.

Iran on Thursday evening submitted its response to the European Big 3's (Britain, France, Germany) proposal to their ambassadors in Tehran.

Reports have it that the European countries did not find the response favorable. However, they said Europe was open to further consultations between the two sides in order to reach a final agreement.

Diplomats in Vienna have announced that ElBaradei is expected to submit his report to the IAEA Board of Governors on Monday, but said there may be a further delay.

The tentative agreement reached in Paris asks Iran to freeze all nuclear fuel enrichment and reprocessing activities until it has reached a final agreement with the EU over a package of economic, technological and security incentives in return for abandonment of its nuclear activities.

The EU incentives reportedly include a guaranteed supply of reactor fuel, assistance in the construction of a light water power reactor and resumption of stalled trade talks.

While the Europeans have called on Iran to agree to an indefinite freeze on its enrichment activities, Tehran has expressly stated that it cannot be forced to scrap the process for good.

Iran, which is counting on the November 25 deadline set by the IAEA Board of Governors to have its nuclear dossier closed, is being called upon to immediately suspend all uranium enrichment activities.

The IAEA insists Tehran has to prove its nuclear program is strictly for civilian purposes or risk being hauled to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.

Notwithstanding the deadline, Tehran insists it cannot be cowered to accept any obligation with regard to an activity that is guaranteed under international law.

It says its nuclear program is for power generation and any country which alleges otherwise must prove its claim. The US continues to insist Iran is secretly pursuing nuclear weapons.

Iranian officials have made it clear that any condition in talks with the three European states that would require the country to abandon its legal right to pursue nuclear technology for peaceful purposes would be dismissed.

... Payvand News - 11/13/04 ... --

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