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6/16/04 - IRAN HAS A NUCLEAR PROGRAM - 2004-06-16

Kamal Kharrazi, Iran’s foreign minister, says that his country will not accept restrictions on its nuclear program. Iranian officials have told the International Atomic Energy Agency, the I-A-E-A, that its efforts are intended to produce electricity for peaceful purposes. But Iran, with its vast oil and gas resources, has little need for nuclear energy.

This month, Mohamed ElBaradei, the I-A-E-A’s director general, said that Iran is not providing enough information about its nuclear facilities. Mr. ElBaradei calls on the Iranians “to become more transparent, prompt, and proactive.”

Since 2003, the I-A-E-A has been investigating Iran’s program and has confirmed numerous clandestine nuclear activities that Iran has undertaken for more than eighteen years. U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher says that “Iran has consistently resisted following through on the steps necessary to provide renewed assurances that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful”:

“In the [I-A-E-A] director general’s most recent report on Iran’s program, there’s further evidence that Iran’s troubling lack of cooperation with the I-A-E-A continues. He noted that Iran’s pattern of engagement with the I-A-E-A has been less than satisfactory. And [the report] said that after a year of difficulties encountered by the inspectors, Iran needs to be proactive and fully transparent.”

Iran must meet its obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. But the extremist regime in Iran “has repeatedly failed to declare significant troubling aspects of its nuclear program,” says Mr. Boucher. Iran has “interfered with and suspended inspections, and it’s failed to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency in resolving outstanding issues related to its program.” The U.S., says State Department spokesman Boucher, urges “Iran’s full cooperation with the [International Atomic Energy] Agency and call[s] on Iran to make good on its repeated pledges of cooperation.”