IAEA sees progress on Iraq’s nuclear issue but mistrust remains


Brussels : Mohamed ElBaradei, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has said here that an IAEA team is currently in Tehran to clarify with Iranian authorities the alleged “studies of weaponisation” of Iran’s nuclear programme.

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“IAEA’s role is to verify Iran’s past and future nuclear activity. We have made good progress, however we still have the so-called alleged studies of weaponisation,” he told a press conference Wednesday after talks with EU officials.

ElBaradei said he hoped Iran will cooperate with full transparency. Noting that there is “a mistrust between Iran and the international community”, he said “this is a confidence-building measure.”

“We cannot verify future intentions but confidence-building requires continuing dialogue between all the parties,” said the IAEA chief.

He hoped that a situation between Iran and the international community will be created to ensure that dialogue will start to build confidence. “I think that is something very much needed and I hope Iran will consider the demand by the international community as expressed by the UN Security Council,” he added.

ElBaradei expressed regret over the Israeli bombing of the site of an alleged reactor last September, near al-Kibar on the Euphrates in eastern Syria.

He also regretted that the IAEA was not given the opportunity to inspect the nature of that facility before the Israelis bombed it.

On the other hand, he said, Syria had an obligation to notify the IAEA if they were building a nuclear reactor.

ElBaradei said that he was in dialogue with the Syrians and hoped he would be able to shed light in the next few weeks on the nature of that facility.

ElBaradei visited Wednesday the European Commission (EC) and held a series of working meetings with Jose Manuel Barroso, EC President, Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissioner for Energy, and with Benita Ferrero-Waldner, EU Commissioner for External Relations. Barroso and ElBaradei exchanged views on current political issues and increased cooperation between the EC and the IAEA on nuclear energy.

Barroso told the joint press conference that “it is important to join our efforts to monitor the development of nuclear energy in a peaceful, safe and secure manner, fully respecting global non-proliferation objectives”.

On the occasion of this meeting, a joint statement was signed between the EC and the IAEA to reinforce mutual cooperation on nuclear energy.