Iran gets a deadline from the IAEA

Monday, September 15, 2003

LONDON Iran has been given an Oct. 31 deadline to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

A resolution cosponsored by the United States that called on Iran to cooperate fully with the agency by Oct. 31 was passed by all 35 members of the board of governors. Iran walked out of the conference hall in Vienna before the resolution was adopted on Friday.

An Aug. 26 IAEA report said Iran has repeatedly provided false information on its nuclear program, Middle East Newsline reported. The report said Iran has established gas centrifuge and heavy water facilities -- usually reserved for nuclear weapons production.

"We will have no choice but to have a deep review of our existing level and extent of engagement with the agency vis-a-vis this resolution," Iran's envoy to the IAEA in Vienna, Ali Akbar Salehi, said.

The resolution also requests that the IAEA director-general Mohammed El Baradei submit a report by November to reach "definitive conclusions" about Iran's weapons program. This would be the third report by the IAEA.

"'Definitive conclusions' means that we will have before us a report that adds to the body of knowledge developed by the agency, and that based on that we should be able to come to a definitive conclusion as to whether Iran is in compliance with its safeguards agreement," U.S. envoy to the IAEA Kenneth Brill said. "I don't think it's any secret to anyone that the United States believes that the evidence to date already indicates that Iran is not in compliance. But, the board decided to give Iran one last chance to comply with the agency's request and the board's request that it make available all the information the agency is asking for and allow access to all the sites and installations the agency needs to visit and take samples in."

The IAEA board plans reconvene in November to determine whether Iran remains in noncompliance. But Brill acknowledged that this did not mean that the agency would send the Iranian nuclear issue to the UN Security Council.

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