Ahmadinejad at uranium enrichment facility (archive)
Photo: AFP
Photo: AP
ElBaradei praises Iran despite continuing defiance of UN
Photo: AP

IAEA praises Iranian cooperation but admits Tehran still enriching uranium

Long-expected report issued by UN nuclear watchdog says Iran cooperating with international monitors, allowing inspection of its nuclear facilities but continues to enrich uranium despite demands. Report confirms Tehran operating 3,000 centrifuges

Iran is working together with the UN's nuclear agency, but it continues to defy the demands of the UN Security Council to cease its uranium enrichment operations – the International Atomic Energy Agency determined in a long-awaited report issued Thursday.


The report also confirmed Tehran's declaration that it had 3,000 working centrifuges at its Natanz nuclear facility – an enrichment program of such magnitude would allow for the production of nuclear fuel on an industrial level.


Prior to the release of the report sources in Vienna already estimated that IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei was likely to praise Iran for its transparency on areas of its nuclear program which up until now had been shrouded in secret.


Iran was quick to welcome the report. A senior Tehran atomic official said on Thursday afternoon that there was no longer any legal basis for further discussion of Iran 's atomic row in the UN Security Council and it would be a "surprise" if such debate continued.


"It will be surprising if they continue discussing Iran 's case at the UN Security Council because, based on this report, the discussion will have no legal and international basis," Mohammad Saeedi, deputy director of Iran 's Atomic Energy Organization said.


UN obtains Iranian warhead blueprints

Meanwhile Iran has met a key demand of the UN nuclear agency, handing over long-sought blueprints showing how to mold uranium metal into the shape of warheads, diplomats said, in an apparent concession meant to stave off the threat of new UN sanctions.


But the diplomats said Tehran has failed to meet other requests made by the IAEA as the latter attempts to end nearly two decades of nuclear secrecy on the part of the Islamic Republic.


The agency has been seeking possession of the blueprints since 2005, when it stumbled upon them among a batch of other documents during its examination of suspect Iranian nuclear activities. While agency inspectors had been allowed to examine them in the country, Tehran had up to now refused to let the IAEA have a copy for closer perusal


US, UK to push for tighter sanctions despite report

Meanwhile on Thursday the White House said it would still push for a third round of sanctions against Iran despite the IAEA report.


The United States said it will continue with its allies to press for new UN Security Council sanctions unless Iran suspends enrichment and provides a full and detailed disclosure of past suspicious nuclear activities.


''We believe that selective cooperation is not good enough,'' White House press secretary Dana Perino said. ''We believe that Iran should be fully cooperating and not stringing along the IAEA during this process,'' Perino said. '


At the State Department, spokesman Sean McCormack noted the report did not say Tehran had addressed all concerns and also said the IAEA's ability to gauge the current Iranian program had diminished.


''While the Iranians are trying to turn everybody's attention to their partial answers on some of their past activities, the ability of the IAEA to gain insight into what they're currently doing on the ground in Iran with respect to their nuclear program is starting to diminish,'' McCormack said.


Shortly after the report was issued, Britain's Foreign Office said it would pursue further sanctions from the Security Council and the European Union.


It is likely that China and Russia, permanent members on the Security Council, may emphasize progress made, and demand more time for Iran before fresh UN penalties are imposed.


Dana Zimmerman, Dudi Cohen and news agencies contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 11.15.07, 19:28
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