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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

IAEA: Iran wants uranium enrichment

ISN SECURITY WATCH (Tuesday, 28 February: 12.10 CET) – Iran appears determined to expand its uranium enrichment program, according to an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report.

The IAEA report also suggested that unless Iran dramatically increases its level of cooperation with an agency probe, the UN nuclear watchdog would be unable to establish whether Iranian is clandestinely involved in a nuclear weapons program.

The damning report, which was prepared for March's meeting of the IAEA board, raises the chances that the board will confirm a decision made in February's meeting to send the Iranian nuclear dossier to the UN Security Council over noncompliance with the country's nuclear obligations.

The IAEA board voted to refer Iran to the UN Security Council earlier this month but delayed the implementation of the decision till the March meeting to give Iran a chance to moderate its stances on uranium enrichment and oversight of nuclear research activities.

A compromise agreement between Iran and Russia on cooperative uranium enrichment this week had appeared to lessen the chances of the implementation of a sanctions regime.

However, Russia has insisted that the fundamental dispute over the Iranian nuclear program had yet to be resolved.

Russia and China had insisted on the month's delay in implementing the IAEA referral in an effort to preserve significant energy and other economic ties with the Islamic Republic.

Western diplomats told the Financial Times that any Russian-Iranian nuclear deal was probably technical in nature and likely failed to deal with the fundamental disagreements that led to the IAEA referral.
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