Khatami accepts UN nuclear watchdog will not close Iran file next month

Posted in Iran | 29-May-04 | Source: Yahoo

TEHRAN (AFP) - President Mohammad Khatami acknowledged that Iran would not achieve its goal of having its nuclear file closed at the June 14 meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors.

He also said IAEA inspectors had had access to all nuclear installations found at military sites, but that no military secrets were being compromised.

Iran's file "will not be closed in June," the president said, adding that he did not regard that fact as serious.

"What matters is the direction that the IAEA will take at that point, its movement in the right direction and its recognition of Iran's efforts and cooperation."

Iran had been pushing for its file to be withdrawn from active consideration altogether, arguing that its signature of the additional protocol of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and its opening up of all relevant sites to IAEA inspectors merited the move.

Turning to the matter of military sites, Khatami said "we do not permit people to access our military secrets," but that inspectors "had been allowed onto military sites.

"Where there were military secrets (involved), but without any connection with nuclear matters, we did not allow them access; but the inspectors were able to do their job with regards to nuclear activities," Khatami said.

On Tuesday, diplomats in Vienna said IAEA inspectors were still waiting for Iran to agree to more open conditions for inspections of military sites.

The United States charges Iran with hiding a program to build the bomb and has called for the IAEA, which has been investigating the Iranian program since February 2003, to refer the country to the UN Security Council for possible international sanctions.

Iran categorically denies those allegations, saying its nuclear program is purely for civilian purposes.

IAEA director general Mohamed ElBaradei said last week that Iran's cooperation with the agency had been insufficient, adding that he had not drawn any conclusions over the nature of the country's nuclear program.