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Iran: 'Maximum' Cooperation Offered To IAEA, Not Security Council


PRAGUE, April 30, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Iran says it could allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to resume snap inspections of its nuclear facilities, but only if the UN Security Council returns Iran's case to the jurisdiction of the UN's nuclear watchdog.

Iran announced it would show "maximum" cooperation" if its case was returned to the IAEA from the UN Security Council.

"The other point is that we are prepared, based upon our commitments to cooperate with the agency and in the framework of international laws and regulations such as the Additional Protocol, to continue our cooperation on the condition that the issue remains within the framework of the agency," Mohammad Saidi, the deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, told reporters on April 29.

Saidi insisted Iran would be able to answer the IAEA's concerns about the access granted to UN inspectors if the UN Security Council dropped Iran's nuclear dossier. He added that if "radical measures" were taken against Tehran, Iran would also take its own "radical measures."

U.S. Says Offer Insufficient

The White House has rejected the offer. White House spokesman Blaine Rethmeier said the statement did not change the U.S. position. He said the Iranian government had to give up its nuclear ambitions. He also said the United States intended to move forward at the Security Council.

The United States and European powers are poised to seek a Security Council resolution legally obliging Iran to meet IAEA and Security Council demands.

Foreign ministers of the five permanent council members and Germany plan to gather in New York on May 9 to discuss the crisis. Representatives of these countries are also due to meet in Paris next week ahead of the talks.

Iran Defiant, Unworried By Sanctions

On April 28, Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad again insisted on Iran's right to develop nuclear technology. "Achieving nuclear technology is now the will of all Iranians, whether they're young or old, men or woman or children," he said.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says it seems that Iran is ready to accept sanctions. In an interview on April 29 with Britain's ITV's, Powell said possible sanctions might fail to halt the country's nuclear program.

"It seems to me the Iranians have looked at this very carefully and they have examined their situation and they have decided to go forward even in the face of potential sanctions, which suggests to me that they have pretty much decided that they can accept whatever sanctions are coming their way," he said. "I'm not trying to read the mind of the Iranians but I think that the menu of sanctions would be quite limited by sanctions; I mean those that could actually get through the Security Council."

Iran insists its nuclear program is a peaceful effort to generate electricity and therefore entirely legal.

Iran's case was referred to the UN Security Council by the IAEA's board of governors, after the agency determined that Tehran was not being forthcoming about all aspects of its program.

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