February 22, 2008

ElBaradei Dismisses US Claims about Iran's N. Drive

TEHRAN (FNA)- Results of a four-year-long probe into Iran's nuclear activities presented in a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency chief in Vienna on Friday rejected West's allegations about Iran's nuclear drive, and completed Washington's failure in the nuclear standoff with Tehran.

The report said that Iran has provided convincing responses to the questions posed by the International Atomic Energy Agency on its nuclear activities, and thus annulled legal or technical justification for continued UN Security Council sanctions against Iran.

In his eleven-page report to the Board of Governors, the IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei announced that Tehran has removed ambiguities about its nuclear activities within the framework of an action plan agreed by the two sides earlier.

A summary of the IAEA report follows - while interested readers could find the detailed text of the same report on FNA's main story page.

The following is a synopsis of the main issues mentioned in ElBaradei's report.

"On 15 September 2007, the Agency provided Iran with questions relating to the source of the uranium particle contamination found on some equipment at a technical university, the nature of the equipment, the envisioned use of the equipment and the names and roles of individuals and entities involved, including the Physics Research Centre (PHRC) (GOV/2007/58, para. 24). This equipment was procured by the former head of PHRC, who had also been a professor at the university. He had also procured, or attempted to procure, other equipment, such as balancing machines, mass spectrometers, magnets and fluorine handling equipment, which could be useful in uranium enrichment activities (GOV/2006/27, para. 25).

"On 10-12 December 2007 and on 15-16 December 2007, meetings took place in Tehran between the Agency and Iranian officials during which Iran provided answers to the questions and the Agency requested additional clarifications regarding the intended purpose of the equipment, the persons and entities who had requested the items, the recipients, and the use and locations, both past and present, of the equipment. In a follow-up letter dated 18 December 2007, the Agency provided Iran with further details regarding the equipment.

"In a letter dated 8 January 2008, Iran provided answers to the questions raised by the Agency in its letter of 3 January 2008," ElBaradei said in his report.

"The Agency made a detailed analysis of the signatures of the contamination of the equipment and compared them with those of the swipe samples taken from the centrifuge components in Iran which had originated in Pakistan. The Agency concluded that the explanation and supporting documentation provided by Iran regarding the possible source of contamination by uranium particles at the university were not inconsistent with the data currently available to the Agency. The Agency considers this question no longer outstanding at this stage," he added.

Regarding procurement activities by the former Head of PHRC, the report said, "The Agency took note of the information and supporting documents provided by Iran as well as the statements made by the former Head of PHRC to the Agency and concluded that the replies were not inconsistent with the stated use of the equipment.

"Based on an examination of all information provided by Iran, the Agency concluded that the explanations concerning the content and magnitude of the polonium-210 experiments were consistent with the Agency's findings and with other information available to it. The Agency considers this question no longer outstanding at this stage," ElBaradei said in his report about IAEA's next question on Iran's nuclear activities.

The UN nuclear watchdog chief further touched on another item in question , and said, "On 22 and 23 January 2008, a meeting took place in Tehran between the Agency and Iranian officials during which Iran provided answers to the questions raised by the Agency in its letter dated 15 September 2007 (GOV/2007/58, para. 27) with a view to achieving a better understanding of the
complex arrangements governing the past and current administration of the Gchine uranium mine and mill (GOV/2005/67, paras 26-31).

"The Agency concluded that the documentation was sufficient to confirm the AEOI's continuing interest in and activity at Gchine in the 1993-1999 period."

ElBaradei further pointed to the results of the IAEA probe into the next item in question about Iran's nuclear activities, i.e. the origin and role of the Kimia Maadan (KM) Company, and said, " The Agency concluded that the information and explanations provided by Iran were supported by the documentation, the content of which is consistent with the information already available to the Agency. The Agency considers this question no longer outstanding…"

Regarding Iran's current enrichment-related activities, the report said, "On 12 December 2007, the first physical inventory taking was carried out at the Fuel
Enrichment Plant (FEP) in Natanz and verified by the Agency. Since the beginning of operations in February 2007, a total of 1670 kg of UF6 had been fed into the cascades. The operator presented, inter alia, about 75 kg of UF6 as the product, with a stated enrichment of 3.8% U-235. The throughput of the facility has been well below its declared design capacity. There has been no installation of centrifuges outside the original 18-cascade area. Installation work, including equipment and sub-header pipes, is continuing for other cascade areas. Since March 2007, a total of nine unannounced inspections have been carried out at FEP. All nuclear material at FEP remains under Agency containment and

"The Agency has continued monitoring the use and construction of hot cells at the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR), the Molybdenum, Iodine and Xenon Radioisotope Production Facility (the MIX Facility) and the Iran Nuclear Research Reactor (IR-40) through inspections and design information verification. There have been no indications of ongoing reprocessing related activities at those facilities. In addition, Iran has stated that there have been no reprocessing related R&D activities in Iran, which the Agency can confirm only with respect to these facilities."

"On 5 February 2008, the Agency carried out design information verification at the IR-40 and noted that construction of the facility was ongoing. The Agency has continued to monitor the construction of the Heavy Water Production Plant using satellite imagery. The imagery appears to indicate that the plant is operating."

"During the current conversion campaign at UCF, which began on 31 March 2007, approximately 120 tonnes of uranium in the form of UF6 had been produced as of 2 February 2008. This brings the total amount of UF6 produced at UCF since March 2004 to 309 tonnes, all of which remains under Agency containment and surveillance. Iran has stated that it is carrying out no uranium
conversion related R&D activities other than those at Esfahan."

"On 26 November 2007, the Agency verified and sealed in the Russian Federation the fresh fuel foreseen for the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP), before its shipment to Iran. As of February 2008, all fuel assemblies had been received, verified and re-sealed at BNPP," the report said about Iran's current nuclear activities, reiterating several times that all such activities by Iran are under supervision of the UN nuclear watchdog agency.

"The Agency has been able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran. Iran has provided the Agency with access to declared nuclear material and has provided the required nuclear material accountancy reports in connection with declared nuclear material and activities. Iran has also responded to questions and provided clarifications and amplifications on the issues raised in the context of the work plan… .

"Iran has provided access to individuals in response to the Agency's requests. Although direct access has not been provided to individuals said to be associated with the alleged studies, responses have been provided in writing to some of the Agency's questions.

"The Agency has been able to conclude that answers provided by Iran, in accordance with the work plan, are consistent with its findings - in the case of the polonium-210 experiments and the Gchine mine - or are not inconsistent with its findings - in the case of the contamination at the technical university and the procurement activities of the former Head of PHRC. Therefore, the
Agency considers those questions no longer outstanding at this stage," the IAEA report said.

With regard to the alleged studies on the green salt project, high explosives testing and the missile re-entry vehicle, the IAEA report said, "It should be noted that the Agency has not detected the use of nuclear material in connection with the alleged studies, nor does it have credible information in this regard."

"The Agency has recently received from Iran additional information similar to that which Iran had previously provided pursuant to the Additional Protocol, as well as updated design information. As a result, the Agency's knowledge about Iran's current declared nuclear programme has become clearer. However, this information has been provided on an ad hoc basis and not in a consistent and
complete manner. The Director General has continued to urge Iran to implement the Additional Protocol at the earliest possible date and as an important confidence building measure requested by the Board of Governors and affirmed by the Security Council. The Director General has also urged Iran to implement the modified text of its Subsidiary Arrangements General Part, Code 3.1 on the early provision of design information. Iran has expressed its readiness to implement the provisions of the Additional Protocol and the modified text of its Subsidiary Arrangements General Part, Code 3.1, 'if the nuclear file is returned from the Security Council to the IAEA'."

"…The Agency has no concrete information about possible current undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran," ElBaradei concluded.

Western Media Ignore ElBaradei's Report

TEHRAN (FNA)- Western media ignored a decisive report issued in Vienna on Friday by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Mohamed ElBaradei on Iran's nuclear activities, which ended a four-year-long probe into the Islamic Republic's nuclear drive and activities.

Western, specially US, media made extensive maneuvers on ElBaradei's report in previous cases, but this time they refrained from informing the public opinion in the West about the positive report by the UN nuclear watchdog chief on Iran's nuclear activities and cooperation with the IAEA.

Western media started a vast coverage of a draft UN Security Council resolution on Iran officially presented to the UNSC on Friday, instead.

The United Nations Security Council has already slapped Iran with two sets of sanctions under US pressures and on the pretext of Washington's unfounded claims about non-peaceful drives of Iran's nuclear programs.

The Friday report by the IAEA chief demolished rationale of the US-led West for the imposition of fresh sanctions on Iran.

Washington laid much pressure on ElBaradei to include some negative or, at least, two-sided points in his Friday report in order for the US to be able to continue pressures, including fresh UN Security Council sanctions, on Iran.

The US is at loggerheads with Iran over Tehran's independent and home-grown nuclear technology. Washington has laid much pressure on Iran to make it give up the most sensitive and advanced part of the technology, which is uranium enrichment, a process used for producing nuclear fuel for power plants.

Washington's push for additional UN penalties contradicted the recent report by 16 US intelligence bodies that endorsed the civilian nature of Iran's programs. Following the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and a similar report by the IAEA head in November which praised Iran's truthfulness about key aspects of its past nuclear activities, Russia and China increased resistance to any further punitive measures by the Security Council.

Tehran says it never worked on atomic weapons and wants to enrich uranium merely for civilian purposes, including generation of electricity, a claim substantiated by the NIE and IAEA reports.

Iran has insisted it would continue enriching uranium because it needs to provide fuel to a 300-megawatt light-water reactor it is building in the southwestern town of Darkhovin.

Not only many Iranian officials, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but also many other world nations have called the UN Security Council pressure unjustified, especially in the wake of recent IAEA reports saying Iran had increased cooperation with the agency.

US President George W. Bush, who finished a tour of the Middle East earlier this month has called on his Arab allies to unite against Iran.

But hosting officials of the regional nations dismissed Bush's allegations, describing Tehran as a good friend of their countries.

Bush's attempt to rally international pressure against Iran has lost steam due to the growing international vigilance, specially following the latest IAEA and US intelligence reports.

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