Reuters: The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Monday Iran’s agreement on a plan to resolve questions about its nuclear program was important but “active cooperation and transparency” would be key to its success. UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Monday Iran’s agreement on a plan to resolve questions about its nuclear program was important but “active cooperation and transparency” would be key to its success.
In a speech to the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Mohamed ElBaradei, the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said it was regrettable that Iran had not suspended uranium enrichment and was continuing to build a heavy water reactor at Arak, contrary to Security Council decisions.
He said Iran had recently provided additional information and access to resolve “a number of outstanding issues, such as the scope and nature of past plutonium experiments.”
“While the agency so far has been unable to verify certain important aspects relevant to the scope and nature of Iran’s nuclear program, Iran and the secretariat (of the IAEA) agreed in August on a work plan for resolving all outstanding verification issues,” ElBaradei said.
He said those issues were at the core of lack of international confidence about Iran’s program.
Washington and other Western countries suspect Tehran is developing nuclear weapons, a charge that Iran has denied. The IAEA deal has also been criticized by some as allowing Iran to play for time while not suspending enrichment of uranium.
ElBaradei said Iran’s agreement on a work plan with a defined timeline for addressing the various issues was “an important step in the right direction.”
“Naturally, Iran’s active cooperation and transparency are key in this regard,” he said.
He said that if the IAEA was able to provide “credible assurance” that Iran’s nuclear work was peaceful, it would help build international confidence and “create the conditions for a comprehensive and durable solution.”
ElBaradei has said Iran was years away from having the ability to produce a nuclear weapons and that there was still no evidence Tehran was building a bomb.
On Sunday, ElBaradei urged Iran’s critics to “stop spinning and hyping the Iranian issue.”
“My fear is that if we continue to escalate from both sides that we will end up into a precipice, we will end up into an abyss,” he said in an interview with CNN.