Mixed feelings ahead of nuclear watchdog's report on Iran

Other News Materials 21 February 2008 22:37 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - Diplomats in Vienna on Thursday expressed doubt about Iran's claims that it had made available all relevant information for the latest assessment by the United Nations nuclear watchdog.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei is expected to release a confidential report to the Vienna- based agency's board members on Friday.

The diplomats spoke to Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa on condition of anonymity.

"There will be no conclusion of the work plan, as there are still open questions about weaponization studies," one European diplomat said, referring to a work plan negotiated between Iran and the IAEA in the summer to resolve questions about Iran's past nuclear activities.

Iran rejected many questions about alleged weaponization plans in connection with its controversial nuclear programme either as fabrications or not relevant, he added.

Earlier this month, ElBaradei said the nuclear watchdog was making "good progress" on Iran's nuclear file.

Tehran maintains that its nuclear drive is purely geared towards energy production purposes, rejecting western accusations of pursuing a clandestine nuclear weapons programme.

Diplomats expected some additional information on Iran's advanced centrifuge work. During ElBaradei's visit to Iran in January, Tehran voluntarily granted the IAEA some access to its next-generation centrifuges, which are currently being tested.

While there was some progress on clarifying Iran's nuclear past, Iran remained defiant about its refusal to heed UN Security Council resolutions demanding suspension of uranium enrichment.

The United States already upped the ante for Iran, demanding a "full confession" of trying to make nuclear weapons.

On Wednesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said no power would be allowed to trample on even Iran's "smallest right."

"They expected the Iranian nation to surrender after a resolution is issued or sanctions are imposed, but today it has brought all big powers to their knees," he said.

Nonetheless, momentum for another Security Council resolution was alive, to be presented as early as next week, ahead of the upcoming IAEA board meeting starting on March 3, diplomats said.

There was "no linkage" between Iran resolving questions about its nuclear past and its present refusal to heed UN resolutions. "For us there is no link, even if some try to establish one," a European diplomat said.

Dissatisfaction with Iran could also lead to several states considering a resolution on Iran at the IAEA board meeting, diplomats in Vienna said.