April 28, 2006

IAEA report says Iran defies UN demands

By Mark Heinrich

VIENNA (Reuters) - The world's nuclear watchdog said in a
report circulated on Friday that Iran has ignored a U.N.
Security Council call to suspend all nuclear fuel enrichment
and has accelerated the program.

President Bush said he wanted a peaceful solution to the
crisis. His Iranian counterpart vowed earlier to ignore any
U.N. resolution to curb Tehran's nuclear work.

Britain said it would ask the Security Council to increase
pressure on Iran after the report by Mohamed ElBaradei, chief
of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The report, which diplomats passed to Reuters, was sent to
the Security Council which could eventually impose sanctions on
Iran. Tehran has said its enrichment policy is irreversible. It
has vowed to withstand any consequences, whether financial
penalties or military attack.

Iranian officials were not immediately available for

However, hours before details of the IAEA report emerged,
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran would pay no heed to
any U.N. measure designed to rein in its nuclear program.

"Those who want to prevent Iranians from obtaining their
right, should know that we do not give a damn about such
resolutions," he told a rally in northwest Iran.

Bush emphasized his desire for a diplomatic way out.

Speaking after a meeting with Azeri President Ilham Aliyev,
the U.S. leader said: "I assured the president of my desire to
solve this problem diplomatically and peacefully."

The IAEA report confirmed that Iran had flouted the
Security Council's demands.

"Iran was supposed to suspend, but since they continue to
do experiments, they have not suspended enrichment efforts,"
said a senior official close to the IAEA.

The IAEA also said Iran had done little during a 30-day
grace period to answer questions meant to determine whether its
nuclear program is purely civilian.

The report said IAEA tests confirmed Iran's claim this
month to have enriched uranium with a cascade of 164
centrifuges to the low level needed to fuel nuclear power
plants. It must be purified to a much higher level for

Iran was also building two new cascades of 164 centrifuges
at its underground enrichment plant. IAEA inspectors were
monitoring the construction.

Ahmadinejad said Iran was ready to defy its foes.

"Enemies think that by ... threatening us, launching
psychological warfare or ... imposing embargoes they can
dissuade our nation from obtaining nuclear technology," he

"The Iranian nation insists on its right to peaceful
nuclear technology. We will not back down one iota," he added.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the Security
Council should now send a stronger signal to Tehran.

"We will now be asking the Security Council to increase the
pressure on Iran so that the international community can be
assured that its nuclear program is not a threat to peace and
security," he said in a statement.

This week Iran vowed to hit U.S. targets worldwide if
attacked by Washington, which has not ruled out military
options if diplomacy fails to halt what it says is Tehran's
quest for nuclear weapons. Iran says its program is purely


Diplomats said questions persisted over Iranian research on
advanced "P-2" centrifuges, documents on how to design an
atomic bomb core, and intelligence reports of links between
uranium ore processing, high-explosives tests and a missile
warhead design.

Mark Fitzpatrick, nuclear analyst at the International
Institute for Strategic Studies in London, said interest in
ElBaradei's report focused on how it assessed Iran's claims to
rapid progress toward mastering the enrichment process.

"Answers to such questions will be important in helping the
world understand the degree of urgency of the crisis and scope
for diplomacy. If the IAEA cannot say much about Iran's
progress, then policymakers will rely more on worst-case
scenarios," Fitzpatrick told Reuters.

The United States, backed by Britain and France, favors
limited sanctions if Iran refuses to shelve enrichment quickly.

Russia and China, the Security Council's other two
veto-holding permanent members who want to protect lucrative
stakes in Iran's energy sector, have so far opposed such moves.

"To be credible, the Security Council of course has to act.
It cannot have its word and its will simply ignored by a (U.N.)
member state," U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said.

John Bolton, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said
Washington and its allies want to shift the demands made in a
March 29 council statement into a resolution under Chapter 7 of
the U.N. Charter, which would be legally binding.

Chinese and U.S. diplomats said the United States was
trying to arrange a meeting on Iran of foreign ministers of the
five permanent council members and Germany in New York on May

IAEA inspectors have found no hard proof that Iran has a
military nuclear program, but ElBaradei has said he still
cannot say for sure that it is not conducting one in secret.

(Additional reporting by Parisa Hafezi in Tehran)