Mon, May 01, 2006 - Page 6 News List

Iran says it will work with IAEA

CONDITIONAL Nuclear authorities in Tehran said they would cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency if the UN Security Council stayed out of it

AFP , TEHRAN AND CHICAGO

Iran promised yesterday it would show "maximum cooperation" with a probe into its nuclear program on condition the case was dealt with by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and not the UN Security Council.

"We have said that we are ready to solve the questions through dialogue. If the IAEA and the Security Council commit for the case to remain at the IAEA, we are ready for maximum cooperation," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters.

"But if they take radical measures, we will take measures as a consequence. If their decisions are reasonable, ours will be too. If their decisions are radical, ours will be too," he added.

On Friday the IAEA confirmed Iran had not complied with a UN Security Council demand to freeze enrichment -- which can be used to make fuel for civilian nuclear reactors, but can also serve as the explosive core of atom bombs.

The US and European powers are now poised to seek a Security Council resolution legally obliging Iran to meet IAEA and Council demands.

Foreign ministers of the five permanent council members and Germany plan to meet in New York on May 9 to discuss the crisis. Representatives of these countries are also due to meet in Paris tomorrow ahead of the talks.

"The participants of the Paris and New York meetings must understand that Iran's nuclear program corresponds to the wishes of the Iranian people and is irreversible," the deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Mohamamd Saidi, told official media.

"The Islamic republic of Iran has no intention to stop or to suspend uranium enrichment," he said.

Iran insists its nuclear program is a peaceful effort to generate electricity and therefore entirely legal.

Meanwhile, the Chinese ambassador to the UN said on Saturday in Chicago it could be "dangerous" to introduce a UN Security Council resolution to force Iran to halt uranium enrichment activities.

Ambassador Wang Guangya (王光亞), who presides over the 15-member Security Council this month, would not comment on whether China would veto a Chapter 7 resolution, which Western diplomats have said they will introduce next week.

However, he reiterated the need to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis and said IAEA was the organization most capable of ensuring that Iran complies with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

"If you introduce a resolution not to reinforce the IAEA but to replace it, that is dangerous," Wang told reporters following a talk at the University of Chicago.

"The Iranians are already saying that if this issue is being discussed under Chapter 7, they will drop the NPT like the North Koreans," he said.

Wang said the Security Council could be used to put pressure on Iran to fully cooperate with IAEA inspectors, but said that China, while "concerned," does not characterize the situation as a threat to international security.

A Chapter 7 resolution is invoked to deal with "threats to peace, breaches of the peace, or acts of aggression" and is binding on all UN member states.

"This is a technical issue and I don't think the Security Council as a political organization would be capable of doing this job," he said.

Responding to comments by US President George W. Bush that the international community must present a "common voice" to put pressure on Tehran, Wang said the international community was "united" in its concern but not in the solution.

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