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ElBaradei: Iran nuclear program not diverted

Madrid, April 7, IRNA-The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed ElBaradei said here Thursday night his agency has not seen any indication that nuclear material in Iran has been diverted or is being diverted to develop nuclear weapons.

ElBaradei, who is currently here to attend a meeting of UN agency chiefs, made the remark in a joint press conference with Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos.

There is still time for negotiation, diplomacy, and preventing the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) from imposing sanctions against Iran, he added.

The IAEA inspectors visit Iran's nuclear facilities as of Friday, said ElBaradei urging Iran to clarify some unsettled issues.

He implicitly criticized US officials for their remarks on Iran's nuclear activities, calling for restoring the peaceful atmosphere needed to settle the crisis.

Asked about recent statement of the US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, who said Iran has just two chances before Security Council sanctions, ElBaradei said he does not understand such remarks.

The UN nuclear watchdog head, however, added the US ambassador has the right to express his opinion.

A sustainable solution to the crisis is found when there is a room for diplomacy, argued ElBaradei concluding if tension is not mounted, it benefits all.

The ranking official hoped for full transparency and cooperation from Tehran with the IAEA inspectors during their visit.

"Iranian officials should clarify some issues because the image of Iran's nuclear activities is hazy enough to create a climate of mistrust."

ElBaradei praised Spain's support for the agency, saying the Spanish government and the IAEA have a very similar stance toward nuclear security.

"The IAEA and Spain are determined to explore all possible avenues to reach a diplomatic solution to nuclear crises of Iran and North Korea."

The Spanish foreign minister, for his part, said the doors are still open to find a solution for Iran's nuclear case through negotiations.

Moratinos added the unity of international community and diplomacy hold the key to solving the case.

... Payvand News - 4/7/06 ... --

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