Iran Nuclear NewsUS says new UN-Iran nuclear agreement 'limited'

US says new UN-Iran nuclear agreement ‘limited’

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AFP: The United States on Wednesday said an Iranian agreement with the UN atomic agency to clarify its contested nuclear programme had “real limitations” and accused Tehran of employing delaying tactics to avoid further UN sanctions. by Michael Adler

VIENNA, Aug 22, 2007 (AFP) – The United States on Wednesday said an Iranian agreement with the UN atomic agency to clarify its contested nuclear programme had “real limitations” and accused Tehran of employing delaying tactics to avoid further UN sanctions.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iran announced on Tuesday they had agreed a precise timetable for Tehran to come up with answers over its atomic drive, which Washington claims is aimed at making a nuclear bomb.

“We understand there are real limitations with the (timetable) plan,” US ambassador Gregory Schulte told reporters in Vienna, citing Tehran’s “continued refusal” to implement the IAEA’s additional protocol on wider inspections.

“Moreover, Iran’s leadership has made clear that implementation of the plan is dependent on no (UN) Security Council action,” Schulte said.

The UN Security Council has imposed two rounds of sanctions to get Iran to stop enriching uranium, which can be used as power reactor fuel but also atom bomb material, and to cooperate fully with IAEA inspectors.

Schulte insisted that the United States would continue pushing for a third round of sanctions.

Iran “is clearly trying to distract attention from its continued development of bomb-making capability. I don’t think the Security Council will be distracted,” Schulte said.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in Azerbaijan on Wednesday that sanctions would not deter the Islamic republic from developing what Tehran insists is nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

A diplomat close to the IAEA called Schulte’s comments “very unhelpful” and “a deliberate campaign” to derail the process of addressing international concern about Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

“Countries should be encouraged by this increased cooperation between Iran and the IAEA.

“When the head of the IAEA’s department of safeguards characterizes this agreement as a milestone, it is disingenous to dismiss it before even knowing the details about what the work plan contains,” the diplomat said.

The accord was announced by the UN watchdog’s head of safeguards Olli Heinonen and Iranian national security official Javad Vaeedi after two days of talks in Tehran.

While Schulte acknowledged that Washington still had to review the actual wording of Tuesday’s agreement, he warned that “cooperation that allows Iran to proceed in developing the capacity to build nuclear weapons is … not enough.”

He stressed that Iran must honor “the core requirement of suspension and full cooperation.”
But the diplomat close to the IAEA argued that any progress on Iranian cooperation should be welcomed.

“Everybody knows that to get Iran to go back to an additional protocol is going to be part of a package deal somewhere down the line,” he said.

A second diplomat agreed that the achievement in reaching a timetable accord with the Iranians should not be underestimated.

The timetable was specific, “with the next steps coming the next week, something in September, and then something in November” he said.

“These are not so much day-to-day safeguards implementation but mainly outstanding issues,” he said, citing questions over the centrifuges used to enrich uranium and Iran’s experiments with plutonium.

The diplomat said there were “about 10 items” in the timetable, including resolving Iran’s refusal to accept some inspectors designated by the IAEA.

“The important thing is that all the outstanding issues have a plan, a timeline,” he said
Details of the timetable are to be be revealed in an IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear programme that is due to be released in two weeks.

“We have now in front of us an agreed working plan, how to implement it and we have a timeline for the implementation,” Heinonen said on Tuesday.

“In the coming months a lot of activities we have agreed will take place so that we can bring these outstanding issues to an early conclusion,” he added.

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