The head of the UN nuclear watchdog agency said Sunday that he is not concerned about Arab countries using nuclear energy for power development, despite international controversy over Iran's atomic program.
Many countries in the Mideast have expressed interest in developing peaceful atomic energy programs in response to rising domestic energy consumption and possibly to counter Iran's nuclear activities.
"All the Arab countries' nuclear activities will be under agency safeguard systems, so I don't see a reason why anybody should be concerned about ... Arab countries using nuclear energy for power development," Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told reporters after meeting with Arab League chief Amr Moussa in Cairo.
The IAEA chief said Arab countries were not focused on the "sensitive" parts of the nuclear fuel cycle, which he argued should be under multinational control.
"Usually there is concern where there is more proliferation with regard to the sensitive parts of the fuel cycle: enrichment activities, reprocessing activities," said ElBaradei. "All enrichment, all reprocessing activities should be under regional or multinational control, but we are not at this stage here in the Middle East."
ElBaradei said the IAEA was making "good progress" resolving outstanding questions about the history of Iran's nuclear program and called on Tehran to cooperate with the agency to clarify its present activities.
"I hope again that Iran will continue to demonstrate full cooperation with the agency because the more we can clarify the past, have a good grasp on the present, the more we can help to build confidence about the future nuclear activities of Iran," said ElBaradei.