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UN watchdog to study Iran nuclear documents
( 2003-10-23 14:41) (Agencies)

Iran has given an official from the United Nations' nuclear watchdog key documents which Tehran says prove it has no plans to build an atomic bomb, a declaration that will be studied closely in the coming days.

A diplomatic source told Reuters Iranian officials handed the documents to an IAEA official in Tehran late on Wednesday, though the U.N. agency declined to confirm this.

Submission of the report meets a key demand of the Vienna- based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has given Tehran an October 31 deadline to clear up suspicions its nuclear program goes beyond power production to arms development.

An IAEA spokeswoman said it would take at least several days to assess the contents of the report, awaited with intense interest by a Washington administration that views Tehran as a major focus of terrorist activity.

The Iranian representative to the IAEA, Ali Akbar Salehi, talking on Wednesday after meetings with Vienna-based officials, told Reuters: "It's an indexed file which contains a full report regarding the Agency's questions and the history of Iran's nuclear activities...It will reach Vienna tomorrow morning."

Vienna-based diplomats on the U.N. agency's governing board, who will decide whether Iran has fully met IAEA demands, are anxiously awaiting confirmation from the IAEA that the report is what has been demanded of Iran.

"We will want to hear it from (IAEA chief Mohamed) ElBaradei that this is in fact everything that they needed from Iran," a diplomat in Vienna said on condition of anonymity.

IAEA experts will subject the report to rigorous examination. There are strong conservative forces in Iran that object to the IAEA's intrusive investigations and see them only as a U.S. bid to discredit Tehran.

Iran has always denied it seeks nuclear weapons and on Tuesday agreed to sign up to tougher IAEA inspections and suspend uranium enrichment as part of a deal welcomed by President Bush.

Iran, however, insist that its suspension of uranium enrichment facilities is a voluntary measure, arousing concerns among some experts that it has not ruled out pursuing nuclear weapons at a later stage.

The IAEA is particularly keen to have detailed paperwork on uranium enrichment centrifuge parts, which Iran says it bought on the black market and blames for contaminating two Iranian sites where the IAEA found traces of arms-grade uranium.

Under the agreement on inspections brokered by the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany in Tehran on Tuesday, Iran pledged to implement the tough inspection regime ahead of ratification.

Leading hardline Iranian commentator Hossein Shariatmadari called the nuclear agreement with the three European nations a "big mistake" and mocked government officials' insistence that Iran's decision to suspend uranium enrichment was voluntary.

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