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6/24/04 - PUTTING IRAN ON NOTICE - 2004-06-25

The thirty-five members of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s control board, including the U.S., say that Iran has broken its promises of complete disclosure of information about its nuclear program. At its next meeting in September, the I-A-E-A may consider sanctions.

The U.S. and other nations suspect Iran is secretly trying to build nuclear weapons. The I-A-E-A has passed a tough resolution demanding that Iran tell the truth about its nuclear program. But U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher says that “Iran’s past record does not give us confidence that they will meet the terms of the resolution”:

“The resolution calls on Iran to take all necessary steps on an urgent basis to resolve all outstanding issues, including highly enriched uranium and low enriched uranium contamination.... And it called on Iran immediately to correct the shortcomings in its responses to the board’s earlier call to suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities.”

Uranium enrichment programs can be used in the development of nuclear weapons. Kamal Kharrzi, Iran’s foreign minister, says that Iran’s nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes. But with its vast oil and gas resources, Iran has little need for nuclear energy.

Since 2003, the International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed Iran’s clandestine nuclear activities. Mohamed ElBaradei, the agency’s director-general, says the I-A-E-A shares the U.S. concern regarding Iran:

“We need to bring this issue to a close as soon as we can. I have been asking, as the board also have been asking, Iran to become proactive, to become more transparent, and to be fully cooperative. And I hope to see that mode of cooperation in the next few months.”

Iran has been “put on notice, once again rather firmly and strongly, in this new resolution,” says U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, “that the international community is expecting them to answer its questions and to respond fully.”