Iran promises to come clean on its nuclear program
It says it will provide answers to remaining questions to the IAEA within four weeks.
Following talks with the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over the weekend, Iran has agreed to answer remaining questions about its nuclear program within four weeks, the UN watchdog announced Sunday.Skip to next paragraph
Israeli general hints at another Gaza campaign
Unclaimed attack on Islamic school raises tension in Nigeria
See no evil? Activists doubt credibility of Arab League mission to Syria.
Arab League observers head to Syria's war-ravaged Homs
Christmas church bombings put global spotlight on 'Nigerian Taliban' (VIDEO)
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
The announcement comes in the wake of an apparent confrontation between Iranian patrols and US warships in the Strait of Hormuz, and in the midst of US President George Bush's tour of the Middle East.
IAEA head Mohammed El Baradei, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who met Friday and Saturday in Tehran, "agreed that a "work plan" on ending the Iran nuclear standoff should be completed in that window, reported Agence France-Presse.
The deputy chief of Iran's atomic energy agency, Mohammed Saidi, confirmed the timeframe, the country's state news agency IRNA reported.
"Iran will respond within the space of four weeks to the remaining questions so that the IAEA can make a transparent report on the Iranian nuclear programme," said Saidi.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran has nothing to hide, and that's why it does not fear answering the remaining questions. I am optimistic."
However, diplomats in Vienna, where the IAEA is based, expressed scepticism that Iran would come clean about its nuclear activities within the new timeframe.
And the United States said the agreement does not go far enough, insisting the Islamic republic suspend uranium enrichment.
The setting of a timetable follows Iran's promise late last year to resolve all issues concerning its nuclear program.
Iran is already under UN Security Council sanctions over its controversial nuclear program, which Western nations suspect is being used as a cover for weapons development. Now, the US is advocating additional penalties, despite a recent US intelligence report that said Iran had stopped its weapons program as of 2003, reports the Associated Press.
ElBaradei also was given new information on Iran's "new generation of centrifuges" during weekend talks with Iranian leaders, said his spokeswoman, Melissa Fleming. That issue is a priority for the agency as it tries to establish how far advanced Iran is in developing the technology.
Announcing the deadline, Fleming spoke only in general terms, without mentioning what was being now probed by agency experts under a plan agreed to last summer. But diplomats said that investigation was now in its final stage, focusing on programs with possible weapons applications.
... Separately, however, a senior diplomat expressed doubt ElBaradei was able to persuade the Iranians to freeze enrichment and noted Western efforts for additional U.N. sanctions against the Islamic republic would continue unless that condition was met. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly on the issue.