Wider inspections in Iran nuke facilities approved by IAEA
The UN nuclear watchdog approved an additional protocol allowing wider inspections in Iran, clearing the way for Tehran to sign on to the new regime, an IAEA spokeswoman disclosed.
The protocol gives IAEA inspectors the right to make unannounced visits to suspect sites, even if the host country has not declared them as open to inspection.
"The board has approved Iran's additional protocol and now it is ready to be signed," Melissa Fleming, a spokeswoman for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said Friday, according to AFP.
In Tehran, former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani refreshed vows that Iran would not accept any "oppressive" decision coming out of the meeting of the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Rafsanjani, in a sermon at Tehran Friday prayers, said Iran is waiting to see how much the US can influence the IAEA board meeting, and warned against any imprudent decision by the agency regarding Iran's nuclear energy program.
"The next few hours are the hours of trial. We are waiting to see how much the US can impose its own inhuman and colonial views on the board through threat, coercion and bribing," he said.
"The ball is now in their (IAEA) ground ... if they do bad, the things will be then out of our control, and I hope they take no illogical decision because no oppressive decision can ever deprive Iran from its due rights."
Rafsanjani said Iran has shown good cooperation with the IAEA toward its nuclear energy activities, stressing that Europe as well as IAEA Chief Mohamed Elbaradei were exercising good-will toward that issue.
He added that Iran's performance to foil the propaganda of the US and Israel that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons had been "very prudent and logical", and renewed Iran's positions that it will not give up its rights to exploit the nuclear industry for peaceful purposes.
"The correct thing that was done was that it was proved to the world that there is no evidence that Iran pursuing nuclear weapons in its scientific and technical movement," said Rafsanjani, who is also the chairman of Iran's Expediency Council (EC).
"They (IAEA inspectors) came and saw wherever they desired and we even told them the things that were not needed to be told. And the IAEA director-general (Mohamed Elbaradei) formally stressed that Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons."
For its part, the United States accused Iran of trying to make nuclear arms. U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Brill assailed Iran for "violations and lies" that stretched over 18 years, including enriching uranium, processing small amounts of plutonium and other activities.
"Iran systematically and deliberately deceived the IAEA and the international community about these issues for year after year after year," he said. The purpose, he said, was "the pursuit of nuclear weapons."
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)