Update October 1st, 2009: IAEA thanks Iran over notification. See bottom.
The head of Iran’s nuclear program says the US and its allies labeled Tehran’s newly-announced under-construction nuclear plant secretive while the themselves admit they knew about the plan.
“The Americans say that they knew of the new plant prior to Iran’s announcement and have presented aerial pictures of the location, so why are they claiming that the project was clandestine?” Ali Akbar Salehi said.
In line with its transparency policy over the country’s nuclear program, Iran wrote a letter to the UN nuclear watchdog on September 21, saying that it was constructing a second plant for uranium enrichment. The letter was sent to the IAEA 12 months before the agency’s regulations oblige its members states to inform of new developments.
According to the agency’s document 153, member states are obliged to inform the body of the existence of enrichment plants 6 months before the introduction of nuclear materials into the facility.
The West, Salehi continued, was seeking to use the Qom plant at a time when they could “gain maximum impact from the issue.”
“They wanted to pass a resolution at the G-20 summit in Pittsburg … but Iran informed the IAEA sooner than they could act,” he added.
The new plant, according to the letter, will produce enriched uranium up to 5 percent, consistent with its nuclear energy program.
During a September 25 press conference, the presidents of the United States and France said that all options were on the table with regards to Iran, implying that they may be considering a military strike against the country.
British Prime Minster, Gordon Brown said that Iran’s “serial deception” in its nuclear work demanded a tougher action by the international community.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi ,on September 26 called on the West to “respect international law and refrain from interfering in the IAEA’s internal affairs.”
Iran has also announced that it will allow inspections of the new site, after “the details of the inspections are worked out.”
The announcement won praise by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who on Saturday welcomed Iran’s decision to admit IAEA inspectors to a newly disclosed uranium enrichment plant.
“It is always welcome when Iran makes a decision to comply with the international rules and regulations, and particularly with respect to the IAEA,” Clinton told reporters in New York.
Iran and the six major powers — Russia, China, Britain, France and the US plus Germany — have agreed on October 1 as the date to hold wide-ranging talks addressing global issues along with Tehran’s differences with some Western countries. source
Update, September 30, 2009:
PressTv- The UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has thanked Iran for providing the agency with information about the construction of its new pilot enrichment plant.
“With reference to the letter of 21 September 2009… from HE Ambassador Soltanieh to the Director General of the Agency Dr ElBaradei, I wish to thank the Islamic Republic of Iran for providing the Agency with information about Iran’s activities related to the construction of a new pilot enrichment plant,” read a letter by the IAEA to Iran, a copy of which was obtained by Press TV.
Iran, on September 21, informed the agency that it was constructing an enrichment plant in Fordu, south of the capital Tehran. The plant will be, according to senior lawmaker Hassan Ghafouri-Fard, used as a backup facility to Iran’s first enrichment facility in Natanz.
Iran, a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), says its program is solely aimed at the civilian applications of the technology.
“To ensure that appropriate safeguard measures are put in place, I would appreciate receiving, in accordance with Iran’s Safeguards Agreement, further information with respect to the name and location of the pilot enrichment facility, the current status of its construction and plans for the introduction of nuclear material into the facility,” continued the IAEA letter, signed by Herman Nackaerts, Director of IAEA’s Division Of Operations Department Of Safeguards.
“We kindly request that this information, along with the other information detailed in the attached design information questionnaire, be provided to the Agency as soon as possible. The Agency would also appreciate being given access to the facility as soon as possible.”
Iran, under the Safeguards Agreement, is obliged to inform the IAEA of a new facility six months before using it for nuclear purposes. Tehran, however, informed the IAEA of the construction about a-year-and-a-half before the introduction of nuclear material.
The disclosure of the letter comes hours before Iran is to meet with the six world powers — the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany — in Geneva to discuss a wide-range of global issues, based on the country’s package of proposals released earlier in the month.
However, Britain, France and the US, which accuse the country of pursuing nuclear weapons and endangering the Middle East with a nuclear arms race, plan to use the opportunity to press the Tehran government on its enrichment activities.
Sources close to the talks told Press TV that British diplomats have been at work to force the negotiations in the direction of nuclear talks rather than Tehran’s ‘comprehensive proposals package.’
This is while European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who has represented the West in nuclear talks with Iran since 2003 and will be present in the meeting on Thursday, had promised Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, that the talks would center on the proposals package.