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Iran turns over nuclear document

Khatami, left, and Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi speak to reporters Wednesday.
Khatami, left, and Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi speak to reporters Wednesday.

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(CNN) -- Iran has turned over to the United Nations nuclear agency a document that Tehran claims provides full disclosure on its nuclear weapons program.

Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran's representative to the the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), delivered the document to Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, Thursday in Vienna.

Iran has denied it is developing nuclear weapons and insists that its program is intended only for civilian uses, such as the production of electricity.

The United States, which has branded Iran as part of an "axis of evil" along with North Korea and pre-war Iraq, has said Iran must demonstrate it does not have a nuclear weapons program.

"I was assured that the report I got today is a comprehensive and accurate declaration,'' Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, was quoted by Reuters as saying.

"It is a large set of documents. We obviously have to start our verification activities (but) it is going to take us time to go through all these documents and reconstruct the full history of the program,'' he said.

Iran's ambassador to the IAEA Salehi declined to give any details about the declaration, which has been described as a stack of papers in a binder about one and half inches thick.

"We have submitted a report that fully discloses our past activities, peaceful activities, in the nuclear field,'' he said.

"The important thing to note is that Iran had to do some of its activities very discreetly because of the sanctions that have been imposed on Iran for the past 25 years,'' Salehi said, adding that they were "legal activities.''

"Nevertheless (Iran) had to do them discreetly,'' he said.

The IAEA Board of Governors had given Iran until October 31 to clear up questions about its nuclear program.

On Tuesday -- flanked by foreign ministers from Britain, France and Germany -- Iranian officials pledged to fully cooperate with the IAEA, sign a protocol allowing for surprise inspections of its nuclear facilities, and immediately stop enriching uranium. (Full story)

Hassan Rowhani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, made the announcement after meeting in Tehran with French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

Rowhani said Iran would cooperate fully with the IAEA and was voluntarily making the move to "promote international good will, create stability and put an end to tensions."

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami told reporters Wednesday that the agreement did not mean his country would stop developing nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

Also on Wednesday, U.S. President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell welcomed Iran's decision but urged Tehran to follow through with action.

Bush praised the work of the European leaders "for taking a very strong, universal message to the Iranians that they should disarm." (Full story)

"The Iranians look like they're accepting the demands of the free world, and now it's up to them to prove that they've accepted the demands," Bush said during a news conference in Bali, Indonesia.

Speaking in Nairobi, Kenya, Powell also praised Iran's move and stressed that Iran's performance is what counts.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair, during a news conference Thursday in London, said: "There is now an agreement by Iran that they will comply fully with the (International) Atomic Energy Authority. The important thing is not to say that but to do it.

"People will expect that undertaking to be fulfilled," he said.

Tuesday's joint declaration said Iranian authorities "reaffirmed that nuclear weapons have no place in Iran's defense doctrine and that its nuclear program and activities have been exclusively in the peaceful domain."

It added that once "international concerns, including those of the three Governments, are fully resolved, Iran could expect easier access to modern technology and supplies in a range of areas."

In addition, the declaration said Germany, France and Britain will "co-operate with Iran to promote security and stability in the region, including the establishment of a zone free from weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East in accordance with the objectives of the United Nations."


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