TEHRAN, (Reuters) – Iran said on Friday a U.N. nuclear watchdog report had shown its atomic programme was for peaceful purposes and called it a victory for the Islamic Republic.
In Vienna, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Iran’s failure to clarify explosives and missile work relevant to the making of atomic bombs was a “serious concern” but that Tehran had been providing increased cooperation.
Western powers suspect Iran is seeking to build atomic bombs, but Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili said the IAEA report was “another document which proves the Iranian nation was right about the nature” of its atomic programme. “This report showed that our activities are peaceful,” Jalili told a news conference in Tehran. “I congratulate the Iranian nation for this success and victory which was a result of their resistance on (the country’s) nuclear rights,” he said. “From our viewpoint this issue has ended.”
The IAEA said Iran was being more open with U.N. monitors than before but that Tehran was testing technology that could give it the means to enrich uranium much faster.
Iran was avoiding meaningful responses to intelligence pointing to covert efforts to “weaponise” nuclear work, it said.
The IAEA’s findings may be branded negative on balance by major powers and spur the U.N. Security Council to adopt more sanctions as early as next week over Iran’s refusal to halt its most sensitive atomic work.
But Jalili said the report had shown there was no connection between Iran’s nuclear programme and any atomic weapons. “(The West) wanted to say that Iran’s nuclear activities had been diverted from the peaceful path. Today the agency … accepted all of these (allegations) were false,” he said.
Iran says its nuclear work is a peaceful effort to produce electricity so the world’s fourth-largest crude producer can export more oil and gas.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said earlier Iran would not halt uranium enrichment, which can produce fuel for nuclear power plants or atomic weapons.
Britain and France said on Thursday they hoped the U.N. Security Council would vote next week on new sanctions, the third such resolution on Iran since late 2006.
The United States, which supports the text drafted by Britain, France and Germany, had hoped the resolution would be passed weeks ago. But several non-Western council members wanted to delay a vote until after IAEA issued its report.
The draft calls for asset freezes and mandatory travel bans for specific Iranian officials and vigilance on Iranian banks.