NICOSIA Ñ The International Atomic Energy Agency, occupied with
Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, has decided to reduce the scope of its
inspections in Iran.
Over the weekend, IAEA director Mohammed El Baradei cut short his
long-awaited inspection of unreported Iranian nuclear sites.
El Baradei also failed to tour Iran's nuclear reactor facility under
construction in Bushehr. The United States has accused Iran of using Bushehr
as a cover for the production of nuclear weapons, Middle East Newsline reported.
El Baradei toured a nuclear facility at Natanz on Friday, but left before a scheduled
inspection of Arak and Bushehr.
Instead, two of El Baradei's aides stayed in Teheran for the inspection
of Arak, located in central Iran. IAEA aides said El Baradei's heavy
workload regarding Iraq prevented him from fulfilling his original schedule.
IAEA aides said El Baradei visit was regarded as incomplete. They
said he did not obtain Iran's approval for a more rigorous inspection regime
of nuclear plants. This included the prospect of snap inspections of
suspected Iranian nuclear facilities.
At a news conference on Saturday, El Baradei acknowledged that Iran has
refused the additional IAEA protocol. The protocol has been signed by all
European Union member countries.
"This is not just about Iran, but for all countries," El Baradei said.
"As soon as the countries sign a NPT [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty] as
well as the protocol, we can provide comprehensive assurance for those
countries who have signed both protocols, but without the additional
protocol, the assurance is less strong."
The chairman of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization told the news
conference that Teheran has pledged to inform the IAEA of any decision to
build additional nuclear power facilities. Teheran failed to inform the IAEA
of the Arak and Natanz facilities.
"We assured Mr. El Baradei that all out activities are under IAEA
control and we have left the door open for further discussions," Iranian
atomic energy chief Gholamreza Aghazadeh said.