The UN atomic energy agency says Iran must do more to cooperate with inspectors evaluating the extent and intent of the country's nuclear program. President Bush says he is working with European allies to convince Iran to give up its nuclear enrichment program.
International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei says Iran has concealed sensitive nuclear activities for nearly 20 years, creating what he calls a confidence deficit around its compliance with nuclear inspections today. Wrapping up a four-day board of governor's meeting in Vienna, the IAEA called on Iran to provide full transparency of its nuclear activities and to extend pro-active cooperation to agency inspectors.
But Mr. ElBaradei says it is too soon to say whether Iran is secretly developing a nuclear weapons program, as President Bush suspects. Speaking following a briefing at the Central Intelligence Agency, the president said America's EU allies, as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin, all agree that Iran should not have nuclear weapons.
President Bush said, "I have told our European friends who are handling the negotiations on behalf of the rest of the world that we want to help make sure the process goes forward, and we are looking at ways to help move the process forward. The guilty party is Iran. They are the ones who are not living up to international accords. They are the people that the whole world is saying: Don't develop a weapon."
The UN atomic energy agency has endorsed negotiations between Iran, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, expressing hope that an agreement can be reached on a long-term solution. Those talks resume next week in Geneva amid speculation that the Bush administration may agree to drop its opposition to Iran joining the World Trade Organization as an incentive for Tehran to reach agreement on nuclear issues.
White House spokesman Scott Mr. McClellan would not speculate on how Washington might encourage the Geneva talks. Iran says its nuclear program is only designed to generate electricity. The country's official news agency quotes supreme leader Ayatollah ali Khamenei as telling a group of students that the United States and Europe want to prevent Iran from enriching uranium because it is part of scientific progress.
The official IRNA news agency quotes him as saying that the United States and Europe are hostile to Iran moving forward in the field of nuclear technology because they do not want the Iranian people to progress.