UN nuclear watchdog meeting to focus on Iran, progress on North Korea By George Jahn, Canadian Press
Published: Monday, March 05, 2007


E VIENNA, Austria (AP) - The chief UN nuclear inspector on Monday said his agency cannot be sure that Iran's nuclear activities are not a cover for a weapons program, adding that uncertainties will persist until Tehran decides to co-operate with his experts.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, spoke as board member countries of the IAEA gathered for a session on approving the suspension of dozens of technical aid programs to Iran as part of Security Council sanctions meant to punish Tehran for its nuclear defiance.

Although the issue is not expected to come up until Tuesday at the earliest, the focus of the International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-country board meeting will be on Iran's refusal to suspend uranium enrichment activities and linked problems.

ElBaradei, whose agency has spent more than four years probing the nature of Tehran's nuclear activities, said the IAEA remains "unable to provide the required assurance about the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program."

In opening comments to the gathering, he said that unless Tehran takes "the long overdue decision" to co-operate with the IAEA, it "will have no option but to reserve its judgement about Iran's nuclear program, and as a result the international community will continue to express concern."

© The Canadian Press 2007

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