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ElBaradei Welcomes Obama Iran Pledge

The head of the U.N. nuclear agency has expressed hope for talks between Iran and the administration of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama.

Mohamed ElBaradei said Tuesday in Prague that discussions between the two sides could help ease tensions over Iran's disputed nuclear program. During the presidential campaign, Mr. Obama pledged to meet with Iranian leaders, a break from the policy of President George Bush.

The chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency has previously expressed frustration at what has been a stalemate between his agency and Tehran.

Representatives of the six world powers that have been pressing Iran to suspend part of its nuclear program will meet in Paris Thursday. Officials from the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China will gather to discuss their efforts.

The six powers have followed a dual strategy of offering Iran incentives to stop enriching uranium, and imposing sanctions if it refuses.

Except for Germany, the countries involved in the talks are the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. Tehran is under three sets of Council sanctions, as well as other sanctions imposed by Washington and the European Union.

The United States and its Western allies accuse Iran of working to produce a nuclear weapon. Iran says its atomic program is intended solely to generate electricity.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

IAEA 'doubts anti-Iran files authenticity'
Source: Press TV

The IAEA may possess documents rejecting a link between Iran's nuclear work and the 'alleged' studies of weaponization, a report says.

"The new evidence of possible fraud has increased pressure within the IAEA secretariat to distance the agency from the laptop documents," a source close to the International Atomic Energy Agency told Raw Story.

According to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the new evidence confirms Iran's assertion that the US-presented documents may have been 'fabricated'.

In 2004, US intelligence presented the UN nuclear watchdog with a series of documents, which the IAEA refers to as 'alleged studies'. The documents are claimed to be proof of an Iranian research program conducted in line with a secret nuclear weapons program.

Most of the documents, provided by an unknown source, are electronic files allegedly gathered from an Iranian researcher's laptop - none of which bears 'confidential' or 'top secret' seals.

Washington has based much of its efforts to rally international support sanctions against Tehran on the documents.

US investigative journalist and analyst Gareth Porter says there is an argument among the UN nuclear watchdog members about the authenticity of the documents.

Porter, in an article on the issue, cites discrepancies between the documents and a larger collection of documentation presented to the IAEA by Iran in response to the agency's request for an explanation.

Some of these discrepancies include handwritten notes on a letter, referring to the redesigning of a missile reentry vehicle, which do not appear in the version of documents provided by Iran.

"This was confirmed by the director of the IAEA Safeguards Department, Olli Heinonen, during a February briefing for member states," writes Porter.

Heinonen referred to 'correspondence' related to Kimia Maadan- an Iranian company which the documents were allegedly stolen from- as 'identical to that provided by Iran, with the addition of handwritten notes.'

According to the Raw Story source, some IAEA officials began pressuring the agency to admit the documents were likely to be unauthentic after a copy of the Iranian letter was received which did not contain any handwritten notes.

"There was an effort to point out that the agency isn't in a position to authenticate the documents," said the Vienna-based source.

The source added that the next IAEA report, scheduled for a mid-November release, would include the agency's first response to a confidential 117-page Iranian assessment of the laptop documents.

... Payvand News - 11/12/08 ... --

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