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Published:June 17th, 2006 04:26 EST
United States Urges IAEA Members To Help Bring Iran to the Table By David McKeeby

United States Urges IAEA Members To Help Bring Iran to the Table By David McKeeby

By SOP newswire

Washington -- The U.S. representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency's Board of Governors appealed to its member states for more help in convincing Iran to suspend nuclear activities and join the United States and its European allies in negotiations.

"We hope that Iran's leaders will think about what is best for the economic prosperity and long-term security of the Iranian people.  And we hope that other countries, including all represented here today, will encourage Iran's leaders to make the right choice," said Ambassador Gregory Schulte in a June 15 statement.

Representatives from the United Nation's nuclear watchdog group are meeting in Vienna, Austria, this week to review the latest report from IAEA Director-General Mohammed ElBaradei on efforts to resolve the ongoing diplomatic standoff.  Schulte said that the report concludes that Iran still is not cooperating with the IAEA and has yet to take any of the confidence-building steps requested by the U.N. Security Council.

Iranian leaders have said that Tehran's nuclear enrichment activities are solely oriented toward civil nuclear power production.  However,
nonproliferation experts are concerned that Iran's continued refusal to
fully cooperate with international inspectors and to explain 18 years of
clandestine experiments point to an effort to develop nuclear weapons.

"No one disputes the right of Iran to [pursue] a peaceful nuclear program," said Schulte.  Even though Iranian officials have said their efforts to produce nuclear fuel are designed to ensure energy self-sufficiency, the U.S. representative to the IAEA noted that other countries with extensive nuclear power programs do not produce enriched uranium or plutonium, which can be used to produce nuclear weapons.  

(See related article (http://usinfo.state.gov/is/Archive/2006/Apr/24-797508.html ).)

Reviewing the evidence against Iran, Schulte said that, "the programs and actions of Iran's leaders are not consistent with a peaceful program."The U.S. goal is to achieve a diplomatic solution to the impasse.  On May 31, the United States offered to join ongoing European-Iranian negotiations over Iran's nuclear program provided that Iran first suspends all uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities.  (See related article http://usinfo.state.gov/is/Archive/2006/Jun/01-327994.html ).)

Iran has yet to accept this offer, part of a larger package of incentives put forward by the foreign ministers of China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States after a June 1 meeting in Vienna.(See related article (http://usinfo.state.gov/is/Archive/2006/Jun/05-828881.html ).)

"The negative choice is for Iran's leaders to maintain their present course, ignoring international concerns and . . . obligations," Schulte said.  The constructive and most beneficial choice for the Iranians people would be for their leaders to change course, he said, and cooperate with international leaders in resolving the nuclear issue.  (See related article ( http://usinfo.state.gov/is/Archive/2006/Jun/04-829348.html ).)

The U.S. statement ( http://www.usun-vienna.rpo.at/ ) on the director-general's report on Iran and Schulte's statement (http://www.usun-vienna.rpo.at/ ) to the press are available on the Web site of the U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Vienna, Austria.

For more information, see Arms Control and Non-Proliferation (
http://usinfo.state.gov/is/international_security/arms_control.html ).

(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International
Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.  Web site:
http://usinfo.state.gov)

Source:  Arms Control