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Iran says no legal basis for IAEA resolution

Days after the issuance of a resolution by the UN nuclear watchdog against Iran’s nuclear work, the country’s envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says the resolution has no legal basis as Iran’s activities are not in breach of the nuclear pact.

Speaking to Press TV on Tuesday, Iran’s envoy to the IAEA Ali Asghar Soltanieh said the Islamic Republic, which is a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), has not committed any breach of its obligations.

The remarks came as earlier on Thursday the six major world powers drafted a resolution at the UN nuclear watchdog against Iran’s nuclear work.

The draft, backed by the United States, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China, was presented at the year-end meeting of IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors on Friday.

The IAEA passed the resolution which called on Iran to stop all construction work at its new enrichment plant — Fordo — and confirm there are no more nuclear sites that the agency must be aware of.

Soltanieh explained about the cited plant and construction work at the site, saying, “What we have done in fact is that we have informed [the agency] much sooner than we were obliged [to].”

The Iranian official was pointing to an IAEA Safeguards Agreement under which Tehran is only obliged to inform the IAEA of the existence of enrichment plants six months before the facility becomes operational.

Soltanieh went on to address concerns about what he described as a confusing matter in the latest IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear activities.

“One thing has created confusion that I want to clarify here… If you read the DG [IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei] report you can read between the lines and find out that [the] DG has not used words like breach, violation, or noncompliance for this issue… it just says this is not ‘consistent’,” the Iranian envoy said.

Soltanieh was explaining about a part in the IAEA’s November report which complained about Iran’s “delay” in making public its new enrichment plant.

“Iran’s failure to notify the agency of the new facility until September 2009 was inconsistent with its obligations under the Subsidiary Arrangements to its Safeguards Agreement,” read the last IAEA report on Iran.

The Subsidiary Arrangements refers to Code 3.1, which Iran agreed to voluntarily implement on February 26, 2003 after the establishment of the Natanz nuclear power plant.

The modified Code 3.1, demands the Tehran government to inform the agency of the existence of and plans for nuclear plants before construction begins.

Iran observed the modified Code 3.1 from February 2003 to March 2007.

However, in February 2007, the IAEA Board of Governors sent Iran’s nuclear dossier to the United Nations Security Council which resulted in sanctions resolutions against the Islamic Republic over its enrichment work.

In retaliation, Iran announced in March 2007 that it would no longer voluntarily observe the modified Code 3.1, and would revert to the original version of Code 3.1, which only obliges countries to inform the UN nuclear watchdog of the existence of enrichment plants 180 days before the introduction of nuclear materials into the facility.

Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA went on to react to the recent UN nuclear watchdog resolution issued against Iran prompted by ElBaradei’s last report on Iranian nuclear work, saying “they do not have a[ny] justification for this and [for] blaming Iran.”

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