VIENNA, 9 June (IPS) As Britain, France and Germany presented a new draft resolution to the United Nations nuclear watchdog criticizing Iran for failing to answer questions about alleged nuclear weapons activities, the Islamic Republic reiterated menaces of reviewing its cooperation with the Europe’s Big 3 in case they do not help closing Iran’s dossier with the Agency.
The resolution said that Iran's postponement until mid-April of a visit by IAEA inspectors resulted in a delay that made it “all but impossible” to resolve the Iran question at the June meeting, according to parts of the text read to the French news agency AFP by diplomats.
The draft "deplores" that Iran's "cooperation has not been complete, timely and proactive", according to extracts, but at the same time it insists for continued cooperation with Tehran, acknowledging Iranian cooperation in responding to agency requests for access to locations including workshops on military sites.
"It is a message. It makes it clear what we expect from them", a diplomat who asked not to be named told AFP.
The text, circulated informally among delegations representing the 35- nation Board of Governors of the IAEA of a board meeting that starts Monday calls for IAEA inspections to continue and urges "Iran to take all the necessary steps on an urgent basis to resolve all outstanding questions" on its atomic program, which Washington says is a front for developing arms.
The draft "deplores" that Iran's "cooperation has not been complete, timely and proactive"
But it does not mention reporting Iran to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions, which the United States says would be justified given Iran's 18-year cover-up of a uranium enrichment program capable of making bomb material.
The resolution "deeply regrets that Iran has not fully implemented" promises to halt all activities related to enriching uranium, including "taking steps to produce" uranium hexafluoride, an enrichment fuel, and "continuing to produce centrifuge components."
The resolution also urges Iran to reverse decisions to work on the nuclear fuel cycle by starting up uranium conversion and the building of a heavy water research reactor.
“We are waiting to see how the Europeans would deal with our problem in the coming session of the meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) directors on 14 July and whether they help closing the file once for all. From their attitude would depend the future of our cooperation with both the Europeans and the IAEA”, Mr. Mohammad Sa’idi, the Director for International Relations at the Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation (AEOI) told the semi-independent Students news agency ISNA on Wednesday.
“We have fulfilled our part of engagements and we expect the Europeans to do so, respecting their engagements concerning uranium enrichment and transfer of advanced nuclear technology”, he said, adding, “except few details like the P-2 centrifuges and contaminated part, there are no other outstanding difficulties between Tehran and the IAEA. Now all depends on the language and wording of the resolution”.
On 21 October 2003, foreign affairs ministers of Britain, France and Germany met in Tehran with Hojjatoleslam Hasan Rohani, the influential Secretary of Iran’s Supreme Council on National Security and the regime’s top negotiator with the IAEA, agreeing on Iran signing the additional Protocol to the Non Proliferation Treaty and suspending its enriching uranium programmes.
But international inspectors were soon to find out that contrary to its pledges, Tehran not only had not stopped enriching uranium, but had introduced more advanced equipments for the purpose, including P-2 centrifuges.
A Western diplomat said the resolution had "strong language and was moving towards where the United States wants to be".
"From their attitude would depend the future of our cooperation with both the Europeans and the IAEA"
Diplomats also said that the Iranians must resolve the research into sophisticated P2 centrifuges that can make bomb-grade uranium and what is the source of highly enriched uranium contamination which IAEA inspectors have found", a Western diplomat said.
Washington accuses Iran of continuing to hide clandestine nuclear activities, after the IAEA report said agency inspectors had found more traces in Iran of highly enriched uranium that could be bomb-grade.
This cast serious doubt on Iran's claim that the contamination came from imported equipment rather than uranium it had introduced or tried to make.
Iran insisted Sunday it had given a complete explanation of the contamination and urged the IAEA to focus its search on a "third country", apparently a reference to Pakistan. The IAEA also reported that Iran, which says its nuclear program is for peaceful, civilian purposes, has admitted to importing parts for sophisticated P-2 centrifuges for enriching uranium, going back on claims that it had manufactured the parts domestically.
Diplomats said even the EU-3 was getting impatient with Iran, as the IAEA has been investigating the Iranian program since February 2003 with Iran consistently failing to deliver on promises for full disclosure of its atomic activities.
Pointing out that Iran had agreed to suspend its enriching uranium activities on a “voluntary basis” aimed at “confidence building”, he said Iran is bound to produce the necessary fuel for the 7.000 megawatts electricity it intends to generate from nuclear-powered electrical plants by the Iranian year of 1400, meaning in 17 years.
To the question why Iran do not tap its huge natural gas reserves for producing needed electricity, Mr. Sa’idi said not only these energies are “ephemeral”, but there are many other nations with huge natural resources that, nevertheless, go nuclear.
Iran is already in the process of building its first nuclear-powered electricity station in the Persian Gulf port of Booshehr with the help of Russia, but the works, due to finish on 2000, are constantly delayed and now it is expected to go on stream at the end of 2005.
But Washington and Israel say the Iranians so-called civilian nuclear-based projects are just a cover to built an atomic bomb, a claim rejected by the Iranian ruling ayatollahs.
Iranian experts also say Iran’s military nuclear programmes are kept highly secret and run by special units of the Revolutionary Guards.
A US official said the United States "feels very sure that the IAEA will take the appropriate firm action" on Iran.
But diplomats stressed that a showdown with Iran over it alleged nuclear weapons program would not happen in June.
“The new report from IAEA’s director, Mohammad el-Barade’i brings in same old questions plus new ones. Therefore, we don’t thing that, contrary to the expectations of the Iranians, the Governors would close Iranians file on coming Monday”, Kenneth Brill, US’s ambassador to the IAEA told Radio Farda, the Persian service of the Prague-based Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty.
“We all think that there are still many things the Iranians must do. Also, we want the IAEA come clean with Iran, for, in our view, there are still many things that the Iranians are hiding”, he said, adding that one has to wait until the Board’s next meeting in September, a view shared by most diplomats, including the European envoys.
"We all agree that the Iranians cannot be trusted 100%", concluded a Board member. ENDS IAEA IRAN 9604.