- Title: FILE: UN wants swift response from Iran on fuel proposal
- Date: 3rd November 2009
- Summary: BAGHDAD, IRAQ (FILE) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF BAGHDAD SKYLINE AT NIGHT DURING BOMBINGS IN 2003 VARIOUS OF US TROOPS IN IRAQ IN 2003
- Embargoed: 18th November 2009 12:00
- Topics: Energy
- Reuters ID: LVA5GX7ZK0S1R3KYDL3WT0TU8FQL
- Story Text: U.N. nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei on Monday (November 2) urged Iran to respond quickly to his nuclear fuel proposal while warning the world against using force.
"I therefore urge Iran to be as forthcoming as possible in responding soon to my recent proposal based on the initiative of the United States, Russia and France which aimed to engage Iran in a series of measures that could build confidence and trust," ElBaradei told the U.N. General Assembly.
Such measures, he said, could lead to a substantive dialogue between Iran and the international community.
The remarks came as ElBaradei, an Egyptian diplomat who is stepping down from the International Atomic Energy Agency after 12 years, delivered his final annual report from the nuclear agency.
The IAEA proposal calls for Iran to transfer about 75 percent of its known 1.5 metric tons of low-enriched uranium to Russia for further enrichment by the end of this year, then to France for conversion into fuel plates for a Tehran reactor that produces radio isotopes for cancer treatment.
Iran rejects Western allegations it is secretly developing nuclear weapons and has ignored U.N. Security Council demands to suspend enrichment, saying its program aims to peacefully generate electricity.
ElBaradei also urged the Iranians to respond to outstanding IAEA questions about their past nuclear activities. Tehran says this demand is based on false Western accusations about alleged Iranian research into building an atomic warhead.
The IAEA director-general warned other countries not to "jump the gun" or be swayed by politics, urging them to allow the IAEA to conduct its inspections thoroughly and properly.
In his last address to the Assembly, ElBaradei urged member states learn from the lessons learned from experiences with North Korea and Iraq.
"Sixteen years after the IAEA reported that country to the Security Council for non-compliance with its non-proliferation obligation, it has moved from the likely possession of undeclared plutomium to acquiring nuclear weapons," ElBaradei said about the North Korea.
"The on-again, off-again nature of the dialogue between the DPRK and the international community has stymied the resolution of this issue, which is a glaring example of the fragility and short-comings of the non-proliferation regime," he added.
But ElBaradei lamented in particular the IAEA's ineffecy in the lead up to the Iraq War and that despite findings by the Agency, the U.S. led a coalition that toppled Saddam Hussein's government and caused thousands of civilian casualties.
"This was done on the basis of false pretext, without the authorization from the Security Council and despite the Agency and the United Nation monitoring, verification and inspection commission having found no evidence that Iraq had revived its nuclear weapon program and programs involving other weapons of mass destruction," ElBaradie said. "It gives me no consolation that the Agency's finding was subsequently vindicated."
Former U.S. President George W. Bush accused Iraq of reviving its nuclear weapons weapons program but this was later proven to be false and partially based on forged documents.
The United States and Israel have not ruled out using force to deal with Iran's nuclear program.
Still, ElBaradei ended his address on a hopeful note.
"I do not expect to see a world free from nuclear weapons in my lifetime, but I am increasingly hopeful that my children can live in such a world."
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