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U.N. Still Assessing Iran's Report

November 01, 2003|From Times Wire Services

UNITED NATIONS — U.N. nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei said Friday that it would take him at least two weeks to determine whether Iran had complied with his demand to prove that it had no nuclear weapons program.

"Sometime toward the end of the second week of November, I will be issuing a report," he said.

He did not think the International Atomic Energy Agency would be finished with the issue at that time, but said he hoped for substantial progress by then.

ElBaradei, director-general of the Vienna-based IAEA, had given Tehran a Friday deadline to prove that it had no nuclear arms program and avoid being reported to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions.

Iran submitted a declaration Oct. 23 on its nuclear activities, which Tehran says are for energy production and which Washington suspects are a smokescreen for building atomic weapons.

"We are still going through a lot of activities; we have inspection teams in Iran. It is too early, but I hope that we will be able to verify what the Iranians have assured us -- that this is a comprehensive and accurate declaration," ElBaradei said.

In Iran, thousands of hard-liners rallied in several cities Friday against the government decision to suspend uranium enrichment and allow inspections of its nuclear facilities.

Protesters in downtown Tehran, some of them wearing white shrouds, chanted: "Death to compromisers!"

Iran's hard-line conservatives, who back the country's supreme ruler, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, oppose unfettered inspections of nuclear facilities.

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