Tehran scales down IAEA co-operation

23 September 2003
Tehran's representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Ali Akbar Salehi, said on 23 September that the country would scale down its assistance to the UN agency. Salehi said that following the resolution passed by the IAEA on 12 September, which gave Iran until 31 October to disclose all nuclear activities, the country would return to a policy of minimum commitment and withdraw the additional access it had given to IAEA inspectors. Salehi added that IAEA lawyers would be travelling to Tehran soon to continue negotiations (MEED 19:9:03).

'Many members of the IAEA were surprised that despite Iran's very good co-operation with the agency, some counties were for a deadline,' said Salehi. 'Irrespective of whether we oppose or agree to the deadline, setting a deadline from a logical point of view is unacceptable.'

Hours before Salehi's announcement, Iranian President Khatami emphasised that his country would not reduce its military strength. Speaking at a military parade to commemorate the start of the Iran-Iraq war in 1980, he said: 'The Islamic Republic of Iran's policy is based on détente - but we also insist on strengthening our military.' The parade was the first public display of Iran's new Shahab-3 missiles, which reportedly have a range of 800 miles. The rockets have been much criticised by the international community.

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