16 March 2004

U.S. Assesses Iran's Delay of IAEA Nuclear Inspections

U.S. questions Iran's commitment to its nuclear obligations

Washington -- A State Department official said the U.S. government is assessing the implications of Iran's refusal to accept inspections of its nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) until after March 27.

The official who requested anonymity noted that Iran's delays run counter to its promises to deal with the IAEA in a transparent manner and raise questions about Iran's obligations regarding its nuclear safeguards as well. He called Iran's decision to delay IAEA inspections "troubling," adding that it reinforces the perception that Iran's strategy is to delay, to deceive, and deny the existence of a nuclear weapons program.

The spokesman said the United States is concerned that Iran can not keep its pledge to place its centrifuge components under IAEA seal if IAEA inspectors are not allowed to enter the country. He said Iran is acting against the will of the international community, which called on Iran March 13 to cooperate fully with IAEA inspections.

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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