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Updated: November 27, 2009 08:47 IST

Iran investigation at ‘dead end’, says El Baradei

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International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed El-Baradei. File photo: AP
AP
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed El-Baradei. File photo: AP

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has reached a "dead end" in verifying the nature and objective of Iran’s nuclear programme, says the outgoing chief of the UN body Mohamed El Baradei.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has reached a “dead end” in verifying the nature and objective of Iran’s nuclear programme, says the outgoing chief of the UN body Mohamed El Baradei.

“There has been no movement on remaining issues of concern which need to be clarified for the Agency to verify the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme,” Mr. El Baradei told the 35-member board meeting of the IAEA.

“We have effectively reached a dead end, unless Iran engages fully with us,” he added.

Iran has stated that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes, but other European nations, including France and the United Kingdom, believe that Tehran is out to build a nuclear bomb in violations of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Mr. El Baradei stressed that he was “disappointed” that Iran had not accepted the plan supported by the US, Russia and France for sending abroad its low-enriched nuclear fuel to be processed and turned into fuel that could be used in reactor to produce medical isotopes.

“I am disappointed that Iran has not so far agreed to the original proposal or the alternative modalities, both of which I believe are balanced and fair and would greatly help to alleviate the concerns relating to Iran’s nuclear programme,” he said.

The Nobel Peace prize winning chief of the nuclear agency underlined that the proposed UN-backed plan will help shift the dialogue from “confrontation towards cooperation“.

“In my view, the proposed agreement represents a unique opportunity to address a humanitarian need and create space for negotiations,” he said.

“This opportunity should be seized and it would be highly regrettable if it was missed.”

Mr. El Baradei also noted that Iran’s failure to inform the IAEA about the construction of a new pilot enrichment near the city of Qum until it was revealed by the US, raised doubts about the number of facilities that existed in the country.

“Iran’s late declaration of the new facility reduces confidence in the absence of other nuclear facilities under construction in Iran which have not been declared to the Agency,” he said.

Mr. El Baradei is the IAEA chief since 1998 and will leave office this month-end. He will be succeeded by Japanese diplomat Yukiya Amano who has worked in areas of disarmament and non-proliferation.

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