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ElBaradei: Too early to tell if Iran making nukes

Jerusalem Post
June 1, 2004

ASSOCIATED PRESS

BRATISLAVA, Slovaki

The chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency said Tuesday his agency has not found proof to date of a concrete link between Iran's nuclear activities and its military program, but said it was premature to make a judgment.

Mohammed ElBaradei, the IAEA director general who addressed a NATO Parliamentary Assembly meeting in the Slovak capital, said there was still some work to do regarding Iran.

Agency experts were still probing into whether "the Iranian program has been designated exclusively for peaceful purposes or has a military dimension," ElBaradei said. He added, "We haven't seen a concrete proof of a link to the military program, but as I said it's premature to make a judgment."

ElBaradei plans to present an assessment of Iran's nuclear activities to the IAEA board of governors in June.

The United States and other nations accuse Iran of running a covert program to develop nuclear weapons and is pushing the United Nations to impose sanctions. Iran has rejected the U.S. allegations, saying its nuclear program is geared only toward generating electricity.

ElBaradei said if the agency thought that "Security Council (action) is needed, I think the members of the agency (board) wouldn't hesitate to take that course of action."

Concerns over Iran's nuclear program mounted after IAEA inspectors found traces of highly enriched uranium at two Iranian sites. Iran said the uranium was already on materials imported from abroad.

Inspectors have also discovered an advanced P-2 centrifuge program that Iran had not reported to the U.N. agency.

Iran agreed last year, under international pressure, to suspend uranium enrichment and allow intrusive inspection of its nuclear facilities.

Earlier in the day, Doug Bereuter, the president of NATO's Parliamentary Assembly, called on national leaders to schedule the next enlargement summit of the alliance for no later than 2007.

Bereuter told the assembly that the enlargement should continue with Albania, Croatia and Macedonia, all striving to become members. The group was holding its five-day spring session in Bratislava for the first time since Slovakia joined the alliance in March along with six other nations.

Addressing the assembly, Bereuter said NATO's mission in Afghanistan is a "test of NATO's credibility," urging members to provide more personnel and equipment urgently needed there.

Bereuter said that unless NATO allies quickly remedy what he described as great shortfalls in military personnel and equipment in Afghanistan, the "NATO mission faces a real danger of failure."

He reiterated his earlier criticism of a lack of resources in Afghanistan voiced at a news conference Friday

 

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