Iran Nuclear NewsTehran resolute in pursuit of reactor

Tehran resolute in pursuit of reactor

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The Boston Globe : Iran said yesterday that it would press ahead to build a nuclear reactor despite the decision by the UN’s nuclear agency against giving technical assistance to the project. By Alissa J. Rubin and Elisabeth Penz

The Boston Globe, Vienna, Nov. 24 – Iran said yesterday that it would press ahead to build a nuclear reactor despite the decision by the UN’s nuclear agency against giving technical assistance to the project.

At the same time, the Islamic Republic also made a conciliatory move toward the international community, agreeing to answer another round of questions from UN nuclear inspectors.

The decisions followed a week of heated exchanges behind closed doors between Western countries who fear that Iran will use the project in a weapons program and developing countries who support Tehran’s assertion that its intentions are peaceful.

The deal puts the project “on hold,” said Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s nuclear arm. That means it will not receive funding for the next two years, but the money could be reinstated at some future date.

The finely tuned language is “constructive ambiguity,” said a Middle Eastern diplomat attending the meeting.

The decision to halt funding was reached by consensus, indicating broad agreement among the IAEA board of governors, which includes representatives of 35 countries.

The diplomat and others underscored that there are far larger stakes than a single project, including the question of whether Iran will halt its uranium-enrichment program as demanded by the UN Security Council and whether the sharp standoff between the Islamic Republic and the West will calm down.

“Given the broader picture, it doesn’t make much sense making a huge fight about it. The Iranians know that if the issue comes to a vote, they don’t have the votes,” the diplomat said.

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