Iran says it won't change nuclear policy
From Kasra Naji
TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Iran said Saturday it would enter into talks with the United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency to work out a form of cooperation that would satisfy both sides, but warned it would not change any of its policies because of U.S. threats.
The International Atomic Energy Agency issued a report this week urging further cooperation from Iran on nuclear matters, particularly signing the agency's strict monitoring and inspection protocol.
"We will soon enter talks about joining the additional protocol," Gholam Reza Aghazade, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Agency, told CNN in an exclusive interview. "We have questions and need clarification on certain aspects of the protocol."
But, Aghazade said, "Iran will not change its policies under threats from the U.S."
The United States believes Iran's nuclear program is aimed at creating nuclear weapons and has intensified its rhetoric targeting the Islamic republic.
After President Bush said earlier in the week that Iran would be "dangerous" with nuclear weapons and that the international community must "not tolerate the construction of a nuclear weapon," a senior State Department official said Friday that military action was an option.
While John Bolton, assistant secretary of state for arms control and international security, told BBC radio that military action against Iran was "far, far from our minds," he also said that "it has to be an option."
Aghazade said Iran, which has no diplomatic ties with the United States, wouldn't bow to such pressure.
"If they were sincere about their concern, there are many ways they can choose in order to arrive at a mutual understanding," he said.
Iran says program peaceful
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has said that Iran, a signatory of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, will sign the IAEA's additional protocol -- which would allow the agency unfettered access to facilities with little notice -- only when the international community keeps to its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and transfers nuclear know-how for peaceful purposes.
Iran insists that its nuclear program is peaceful and aimed at producing 6,000 megawatts of electricity that is needed in 20 years time.
In its report, the IAEA said Iran failed to report to it some of its nuclear material and some of its nuclear facilities but was taking steps to correct the omissions.
Although Aghazade said Iran would talk about the additional protocol, he ruled out allowing U.N. inspectors to take environmental samples at a suspected uranium enrichment plant, saying signed agreements pertained only to nuclear sites and the site in question was outside those agreements.
The site, Kalaye Electric Company, played a "supporting (role in) Iran's nuclear industry," he said, but was not itself a nuclear facility.