Iran defends not declaring all its nuclear information

Not obligated to disclose every aspect, official says

February 26, 2004|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

TEHRAN, Iran - Iran's top security official said yesterday that his country was not required to declare every aspect of its nuclear research programs, including advanced centrifuges, for which it was criticized by the International Atomic Energy Agency this week.

Another Iranian official called the dispute a misunderstanding.

The head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Hassan Rowhani, who agreed in a meeting with French, German and British officials in October to allow inspections and full disclosure of nuclear sites, said there were certain parts of Iran's research program that it did not feel necessary to disclose.

The IAEA said Tuesday that Iran had failed to report that it had produced polonium 210, a highly radioactive isotope that in small amounts can help set off a nuclear explosion. It also said Iran had concealed plans to make advanced centrifuges used for enriching uranium.

Rowhani said that the P-2 centrifuge, a second-generation Pakistani design, was a research project that Iran did not feel obliged to declare, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

"We have other research projects which we have not announced to the agency and do not think it is necessary to announce them to the agency," he said. He did not elaborate.

In a statement, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Assefi said: "What was published in the agency's report was about an unfinished work 13 years ago on polonium. It is just a misunderstanding, and it will soon be resolved."

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