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Iran’s nuke activities more transparent: UN watchdog report

A report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says Iran has made important strides towards making its nuclear activities transparent, but many questions remain unresolved.

IAEA Director General, Mohamed ElBaradei, released the document saying Tehran provided information on its nuclear past as agreed under a work plan made in August, but while the findings provided scope for increased optimism namely that it would be “wrong'” to pursue more sanctions.

In contrast they also confirmed Tehran continues to defy UN Security Council requests. Ongoing work on uranium enrichment and 3,000 operational centrifuges are among the key outstanding issues. The U.S. said it proved Iran should face further punitive measures.

“We believe that we need to move forward with another resolution in the Security Council under Chapter 7 to impose additional sanctions on Iran”, said the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Zalmay Khalilzad.

Reflecting that stance, Britain's Foreign Office said it would seek further measures through the Security Council and the European Union. While China and Russia say the latest findings support their strategy in seeking a sanction free diplomatic approach.

IAEA Director General, Mohamed ElBaradei
IAEA Director General, Mohamed ElBaradei

Moscow has reacted by approving more fuel should be sent to the Bushehr plant – a nuclear facility being built by Russian companies in the southwest of the country.

Iran on its part says the report may be enlightening for all those who pointed to ambiguities.

Much of the report which was made available focused on the history of Iran's black-market procurements and the Atomic Agency appeared to be giving Tehran a pass on that issue, saying Iran's statements are consistent with available information.

“If the Agency were able to provide credible assurance about the peaceful nature of Iran’s past and current nuclear programme this would go a long way towards building confidence and could help create conditions for a comprehensive and durable solution,” said Mohamed ElBaradei.

Despite the abounding optimism the report did strikingly point out that Iran’s co-operation had been reactive rather than proactive – a fact that may just complicate the search for a consensus on how to take the situation forward.