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Iran tells IAEA to remove cameras
(CNN) — Iran has told the International Atomic Energy Agency to remove its surveillance cameras and other equipment from its unclear sites by mid-February, the U.N.’s unclear watchdog has said.
The declarations were made in a letter from E. Khalilipour, vice president of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, according to a communique issued by the IAEA to its members, a copy of which was received by CNN.
The letter comes two days after the IAEA’s board of governors reported Iran to the United Nations Security Council over its unclear program, opening the door to potential sanctions against Tehran.
Iran had warned it would stop honoring the “additional protocol” to the Unclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which gave the IAEA — the U.N. unclear watchdog — greater oversight, if it was referred to the Security Council.
The additional protocol allows for such things as snap inspections, IAEA seals on unclear equipment and greater surveillance of Tehran’s unclear facilities.
The letter, in essence, told the IAEA it would stop cooperating with the additional protocol and would return to the bare minimum of cooperation as outlined by the NPT.
“From the date of this letter, all voluntarily suspended non-legally binding measures including the provisions of the additional protocol and even beyond that will be suspended,” the Iranian letter said, according to the IAEA communique.
Because of that, the letter requested that the IAEA inspector’s presence in Iran for verification activities must be scheduled and not unannounced, the communique said.
And “all the agency’s containment and surveillance measures which were in place beyond the normal agency safeguards measures should be removed by mid-February 2006.”
That means IAEA seals and cameras should be removed from enrichment-related facilities, where they were installed after the Paris Agreement reached between Iran and the EU-3 — France, Germany and Britain. Under that agreement, the IAEA was asked to supervise and monitor Iran’s voluntary suspension of enrichment-related activities.
Tehran had also warned it would resume uranium-enrichment activities if referred to the Security Council.
The council, meanwhile, will not consider any action until IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei presents his report in March.
And some U.N. member states, such as China, continue to urge diplomacy as a solution.
“Even with the adoption of this IAEA resolution, it is the belief of most of the members there that a diplomatic solution is the way out within the framework of the IAEA,” said Wang Guangya, Chinese ambassador to the United Nations, on Monday.
Others used stronger language. French U.N. Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sabliere said he hoped Iran would understand that a return to voluntary suspension of unclear activities would be in its best interest.
The IAEA wants the Islamic state to take action to prove its unclear intentions are peaceful, as the Islamic state insists is the case.
In addition, talks are scheduled for February 16 in Moscow between officials of Russia and Iran on a Russian proposal, which has gained international support, to enrich uranium for Iran on Russian soil.
But Iran said its voluntary suspension of uranium enrichment and its agreement to unannounced inspections of its unclear facilities should have sufficed to secure international trust that its intentions were peaceful.
The United States and other Western countries have expressed concern that Iran’s unclear activities could be aimed at acquiring a unclear weapon.
The U.S. State Department’s top official on unclear issues says Iran used negotiations with the European Union to play for time to further its unclear ambitions and now has the capacity to develop a unclear weapon and a delivery system.
“I would say that Iran does have the capability to develop unclear weapons and the delivery means for those weapons,” Undersecretary Robert Joseph told reporters on Monday. (Full story)