Report on Irans nuclear safeguards sent to UN atomic agency board

Just following the start of European Union-led talks with Iran over its nuclear ambitions, the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today announced that its report on nuclear verification in the country has been circulated to the Agency’s member States, which will convene next week in Vienna.“The document’s circulation is restricted and unless the IAEA Board decides otherwise the Agency cannot authorize its release to the public,” the atomic watchdog said in a statement.The report, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran, was issued by Director General Mohamed ElBaradei. It covers developments since April. An earlier report by Dr. ElBaradei, submitted on 28 April to the Board and UN Security Council, concluded that Iran continues to enrich uranium, and the IAEA can make no further progress in determining whether the country is carrying out illicit nuclear activities because the Government is not cooperating with its work.According to the report, Iran’s uranium conversion campaign “is still ongoing.” Iran has continued to feed UF6 gas – used for uranium enrichment – into large-scale machinery built for that purpose in March. Enriched uranium can be used for peaceful purposes, such as generating energy, or for making nuclear weapons. The Tehran Government denies claims by the United States and other countries that it is trying to develop nuclear weapons.Iran had been called on to re-establish full and sustained suspension of all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, to be verified by the Agency. The IAEA Board has also asked Tehran to reconsider the construction of a research reactor moderated by heavy water.Other requirements put forward by the Board in a resolution adopted in February call for Iran to ratify and implement the Additional Protocol, which grants the IAEA expanded rights of access to information and sites, as well as extra authority to use the most advanced technologies during the verification process. Pending ratification, the Board said Iran should continue to act in accordance with the provisions of the Protocol, which the country signed in December 2003.That same year, it was discovered that Iran had carried out secret nuclear activities for 18 years in breach of its obligations under the NPT.Iran voluntarily suspended uranium enrichment activities, which can produce material for nuclear energy or for weapons, in 2004 while negotiating with European Union nations France, Germany and Britain (the so-called EU-3) on its programme, but resumed the process last August.The IAEA Board meeting will run from 12 to 16 June.