Iran Nuclear NewsIran not in clear if U.N. report only partly...

Iran not in clear if U.N. report only partly good: U.S.

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Reuters: The United States signaled on Wednesday that partial Iranian cooperation with U.N. nuclear investigators would not be enough to stall steps towards a third round of sanctions against Tehran. By Mark Heinrich

VIENNA (Reuters) – The United States signaled on Wednesday that partial Iranian cooperation with U.N. nuclear investigators would not be enough to stall steps towards a third round of sanctions against Tehran.

The International Atomic Energy Agency is likely later this week to report some improvements in Iranian nuclear transparency in keeping with Tehran’s pledge in August to defuse suspicions it has a covert atomic bomb program.

In a gesture aimed at slowing momentum towards sanctions, Iran has turned over a blueprint showing how to mould uranium metal into spheres to fit into nuclear warheads, fulfilling a key demand in a four-year-old IAEA inquiry, diplomats said.

But the blueprint alone does not resolve outstanding questions about the nature of Iran’s program which Tehran says aims only to produce electricity not armaments.

Gregory Schulte, U.S. envoy to the IAEA, said the agency’s 35-nation Board of Governors and Security Council members would not be content to “see a little bit more information here, a little more there” from Iran in the report.

“Selective cooperation is not good enough,” he told reporters at the U.N. watchdog’s Vienna headquarters.

“When we read this report and evaluate Iran’s cooperation, the standard we will look for is full disclosure and also a full suspension of their proliferation-sensitive activities.”

An IAEA board meeting next week will debate the report.

Iran apparently provided documentation to help explain its work to develop centrifuges that enrich uranium, diplomats said.

But it may not have granted IAEA access to workshops or key Iranian officials for interviews to verify the work did not have military ends, said diplomats monitoring the hush-hush inquiry.

“The operative word there is partial (cooperation). There is a long, long list of questions,” said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.

“Answering one question among several pages worth certainly doesn’t, in my book, count as full cooperation which is what the IAEA board of governors said that it is looking for.”

Six world powers agreed in September they would have the U.N. Security Council vote on wider sanctions unless reports by the IAEA and the EU’s top diplomat showed Iran had come clean on its program and was moving to suspend it.

NO NUCLEAR SUSPENSION ON HORIZON

The European Union’s Javier Solana is widely expected to confirm in his report on recent talks with Iran that it remains unwilling to consider a suspension.

Some diplomats said the IAEA report could cite just enough new examples of Iranian cooperation for Russia and China to argue for further deferral of sanctions to allow more time for the transparency process, which has no deadlines, to work.

“The IAEA report won’t be too bad for the Iranians,” said a European diplomat accredited to the IAEA.

“The end result will make it very difficult for the six (powers) to speak in one voice on the next steps, because the report may be enough to satisfy some, but not satisfy others.”

Russia and China, both with Security Council vetoes, want to keep strong trade ties with Iran and say isolating the Islamic Republic could lead to wider Middle East conflict.

“The start of talks between Iran and IAEA is bringing some results,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a news conference during a visit to Slovenia on Wednesday.

Referring to the imminent IAEA and EU reports, he said: “We all have to concentrate on a positive approach … rather than on various announcements, prognoses, etc.”

McCormack said movement towards a third round of sanctions was not moving as quickly as the United States would have hoped.

“I’m not going to make any secret of the fact that we would have wished that this process had moved forward and we would have already had the third resolution in our rear-view mirror at this point. We don’t. We are making some progress,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Marja Novak in Ljubljana; Editing by Robert Woodward)

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