Saturday, October 15, 2005

Iran Warned to Clear Up Nuclear Questions

Yahoo News:

By ANDREA DUDIKOVA, Associated Press Writer

Fri Oct 14, 7:38 PM ET

The chief U.S. representative to the U.N. atomic agency warned Iran again on Friday to clear up questions about its nuclear program as the organization's 35-nation board met to mark its Nobel Peace Prize.

The International Atomic Energy Agency and its director, Mohamed ElBaradei, jointly won the 2005 prize a week ago for what the Nobel Committee hailed as "efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure that nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is used in the safest possible way."

Gregory Schulte, Washington's chief envoy to the IAEA, said he conveyed a message from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calling the award "well-deserved," and he said the honor would boost the agency's resolve and credibility around the world.

The decision to grant the prize to ElBaradei and the Vienna-based IAEA was viewed as a vindication for the Egyptian diplomat, who favors diplomacy over confrontation in his work to curb nuclear proliferation.

In the lead-up to the Iraq war, ElBaradei publicly challenged U.S. claims that former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. His more recent refusal to back U.S. assertions that Iran has a covert nuclear weapons program has hardened opposition to him in the Bush administration.

Speaking Friday, Schulte warned Iran anew on Friday that it risks being reported to the U.N. Security Council if it does not ease fears about its nuclear program. If not, he said, the IAEA board would have a decision to make.

"The ball is really in the court of Tehran at this point," Schulte said. "If Iran continues down the road that it's going ... then the board will need to carry out its statutory responsibility to report Iran to the Security Council."

The IAEA wants to interview military officials thought to be associated with what Iran says is a purely civilian nuclear program. The agency is also asking for documents linked to its uranium enrichment program.


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