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9/22/04 - I-A-E-A RESOLUTION & IRAN’S RESPONSE - 2004-09-22

The United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency, or I-A-E-A, has unanimously passed a resolution calling on Iran to "immediately suspend all activities related to uranium enrichment." Enriched uranium is a key component in the manufacture of nuclear weapons. The United States and other nations believe that Iran is secretly developing nuclear weapons under the guise of pursuing nuclear energy for electricity.

The I-A-E-A resolution demands that Iran "take all steps within its power to clarify outstanding issues…including the source and reasons for enriched uranium contamination" already found in Iran. It calls on Iran to provide "prompt access" to locations and personnel that will allow the I-A-E-A to discover the full nature and extent of Iran's nuclear program. And the resolution says that the I-A-E-A will take up the matter of Iran's nuclear program again in November and decide then "whether or not further steps" will be required.

Spencer Abraham is the U.S. Secretary of Energy. He says the resolution passed by the I-A-E-A helps focus attention on the threat posed by Iran:

"I think that the I-A-E-A board of governors sent a very clear message that Iran must cease its pursuit of nuclear weapons and answer questions which the board has raised, and suspend its enrichment activity. We were very pleased by this consensus. . . .and we should all expect that Iran should follow the obligations and cooperate fully with the I-A-E-A."

The European Union and Russia have joined with the United States in saying that Iran should comply with the resolution. Libya renounced its own clandestine nuclear weapons program in December 2003, and is also urging Iran to cooperate with the I-A-E-A. "The Iranians have to meet these obligations because of the agreement with the I-A-E-A," said Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Matouq Matouq. "We hope that we can have another example [like Libya] of Iran fulfilling the obligations and following the I-A-E-A agreements."

Iran seems unlikely to follow suit. Iran's intelligence minister, Ali Yunesi, called the I-A-E-A resolution "illegal," and said that Iran "will ignore the provisions of the resolution." Iranian Vice President Reza Aghazadeh said Iran will "continue its nuclear activities without interruption."

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has said that if Iran continues to defy the I-A-E-A, the matter has to be brought before the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions.