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U.N.: No proof of Iran N-bomb work


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Iran's Boushehr nuclear power plant
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Iran agrees with a request from the EU's 'big three' to stop nuclear enrichment.

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(CNN) -- Iran has not diverted any of its declared nuclear material for military purposes, but questions remain about possible undeclared activities, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog says in a new report.

The International Atomic Energy Agency internal document, obtained by CNN, comes a day after Iran agreed to fully suspend its uranium enrichment program as of November 22 and invited the IAEA to confirm its compliance.

IAEA spokesman Mark Gwozdecky told CNN his group received a letter from Iran expressing its commitment to the deal reached Sunday.

"We'll begin immediately to send our people and inspectors so that we can verify that commitment," he told CNN Monday.

The Iranian government made its decision after discussions with the ambassadors of France, Britain and Germany and the high representative of the European Union on Sunday, the IAEA report said.

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Hassan Rohani, told reporters his nation agreed "to suspend whatever the European Union has asked us to suspend."

Earlier, a Western diplomat told CNN that Iran made the agreement in exchange for a promise the matter would not be referred to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions.

An Iranian foreign ministry spokesman told reporters Monday the decision to suspend the uranium enrichment program was a voluntary move to dispel concerns it was secretly building atomic weapons.

Hamid Reza Asefi said the freeze would only last for a short time while Iran and the EU discuss a lasting solution to its nuclear case.

For months, world leaders have placed heavy international pressure on Iran to halt its nuclear activity. Some nations, including the United States, have expressed concern Iran may be building an arsenal of nuclear weaponry.

Iran has insisted its nuclear program is for civilian purposes, but some western diplomats have questioned why the oil-rich nation would need such a program.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, announcing his resignation Monday in a briefing with reporters, cited concerns over Iran as one of the most pressing challenges facing the United States.

"We have to work with our European Union friends and with the IAEA to find a solution to the Iranian nuclear program," he said. "And we have seen a little bit of progress, hopefully, over the last 24 hours."

U.S. officials reserved specific comment on Iran's agreement and the IAEA report. The United States does not communicate directly with Iran, which U.S. President George W. Bush famously labeled part of an "axis of evil."

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the administration was awaiting word "from our European friends" about the agreement.

"Ultimately, the question remains: Are they (the Iranians) making commitments and are they carrying out commitments?" Boucher said. "This needs to be promises made and promises implemented."

For "years and even decades," Iran had a covert nuclear program, in violation of international agreements, Boucher said. The U.S. view remains "that given Iran's past behavior," the Iran situation should be referred to the U.N. Security Council, he said.

The IAEA's board of governors is scheduled to meet November 25-26. Gwozdecky said the group would discuss the report and the next steps for dealing with Tehran.

Gwozdecky said the new IAEA report describes "two distinct periods of our work in Iran."

The first dates prior to October 2003, in which Iran's actions were "characterized by extensive concealment, misleading information, and delays and access" for inspectors, which "resulted really in many breaches by Iran of its obligations under its safeguards agreement."

Since October 2003, "we've noted that cooperation has improved appreciably in all of these areas," but there are still delays in receipt of information, he said.

The 32-page report says, "All the declared nuclear material in Iran has been accounted for, and therefore such material is not diverted to prohibited activities. The (IAEA) is, however, not yet in a position to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran."

Given Iran's failure to divulge "significant aspects" of its nuclear program in the past, it could take longer than usual to make such a declaration, the report says, calling Iran's cooperation "indispensable."

The report quotes Iran's letter to the IAEA as promising to "continue and extend" an ongoing suspension of nuclear activity "to include all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, and specifically: the manufacture and import of gas centrifuges and their components; the assembly, installation, testing or operation of gas centrifuges; and all tests and production for conversion at any uranium conversion installation."

Iran also said it does not have any reprocessing activity, "any activity for undertaking plutonium separation, or for constructing or operating any plutonium separation installation," according to the report.

Sunday's news followed an announcement November 7 of a provisional agreement on Iran's uranium enrichment program through a series of talks between Iran and the European Union's so-called Big Three nations -- France, Britain and Germany.

After those talks, Iranian delegation spokesman Hussein Mousavian said the agreement could usher in an important change in Iran's relations with Europe and much of the international community.

The Big Three held three rounds of talks with Iran in an effort to persuade Tehran to suspend its nuclear enrichment activities in return for improved trade and political relations.

In the past, Iran has said any suspension of its program would be short-lived and only with the aim of building confidence between Tehran and the international community.

CNN's Kasra Naji contributed to this report.


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