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U.N. nuclear agency experts arrive in Iran for inspections

Sunday, June 8, 2003

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran has not breached an international nuclear nonproliferation agreement and is not bothered by accusations to the contrary, an Atomic Energy Organization of Iran spokesman said Saturday.

Khalil Mousavi made the comments as a team of International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors arrived in Iran to assess the nation's controversial atomic activities. The Vienna, Austria-based agency has published a report claiming Iran has not kept promises to safeguard nuclear material.

"We have not violated the NPT (Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty). A person who hasn't done anything wrong will not be worried about such allegations," Mousavi told The Associated Press.

Washington accuses Tehran of wanting to build a nuclear bomb and wants the IAEA to declare Iran in violation of the international treaty.

Iran has said it has no plans to develop nuclear weapons.

"Repetition of U.S. allegations will not make it true," Mousavi said.

Iran will study the IAEA report once it officially receives the document and will respond to it when the agency's board meets June 16, Mousavi said.

A diplomat from an IAEA member state said Friday the report indicated Iran had not declared the import of some nuclear material and its subsequent processing.

"Iran has failed to meet its obligations under its safeguards agreement with respect to the reporting of nuclear material, the subsequent processing and use of that material and the declaration of facilities where that material was stored and processed," the diplomat quoted the report as saying.

Mousavi said the visit by the IAEA inspectors would make clear Iran's "transparent nuclear policy."

The visit is seen widely as Iran's chance to counter accusations of a nuclear weapons program and show it is eager to cooperate with IAEA.

In February, Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the IAEA, visited the incomplete Natanz plant about 200 miles south of Tehran.

Diplomats accompanying him said he was taken aback by the advanced stage of a project there using hundreds of centrifuges to enrich uranium.

A senior U.S. administration official recently said on condition of anonymity that the technology was invented by URENCO, a British-German-Dutch consortium, but suggested it was not provided through the firm but rather was stolen and sold to Iran.

Asked if Iran used URENCO technology to produce centrifuges in Natanz, Mousavi said: "We have not obtained technology from a particular place. Iran's nuclear technology is locally made.

"However, we will make use of the world's advanced science wherever necessary."

Iran also has an $800 million contract with Russia to build a 1,000-megawatt light-water reactor in Bushehr, and the United States has expressed strong concerns that Iran potentially could extract plutonium from the reactor's spent fuel for use in nuclear weapons.


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