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ElBaradei keeps U.N. nuclear post

Mohamed ElBaradei gains reappointment to a third term as the director general of the IAEA.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

(CNN) -- The International Atomic Energy Agency's governing board has unanimously reappointed Mohamed ElBaradei to a third, four-year term as head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog

After the board meeting on Monday, ElBaradei said Iran is "inching forward" in providing his agency with proof that the country's nuclear program is peaceful and that the government is living up to its commitments to the United Nations.

ElBaradei's re-election as director-general had been opposed by the United States, but in recent days U.S. diplomats said the opposition had been dropped .

Publicly, U.S. State Department officials said the United States believed that the agency chief should serve only two four-year terms. However, behind the scenes, the U.S. diplomats said the United States felt ElBaradei was not hard enough on Iran.

ElBaradei told the governors his next four-year term will be concerned with "heavy and worrying issues" concerning the attempt of the international community to fight the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

After the session, ElBaradei told reporters that he will tell the board on Wednesday that Iran is providing his inspectors with more of the information they need.

He said he will report an improvement in the ability of inspectors to talk with people they need to interview and to get the data they require.

However, the IAEA chief said Iran should go beyond simply meeting the letter of the law in its efforts to convince the international community it is not seeking to build nuclear weapons.

ElBaradei said he will give a general report to the governors ahead of a more detailed report later in the week by IAEA inspectors who have been dealing with Iran.

U.S. President George Bush has said that Iran must not be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons.

Iran has said its program is purely for the production of energy, that it has a right to that program, and that it does not want nuclear weapons.

As a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, Iran has obligations to the United Nations to provide for inspections to assure it is not turning its nuclear program into a weapons program.

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