The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/world/2003/01/16/42131.html ' target=_blank>Mohamed ElBaradei, said on Monday he was not ready to end his two-year probe of Iran's atomic program, which Washington says is a cover for a nuclear weapons program. "The Iran file will be closed when we close all the issues that are still open," ElBaradei told reporters.
"We are inching forward but I'd like to have more speedy cooperation on the part of Iran," he told reporters after the governing board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) unanimously approved a third term for him as IAEA chief.
Iran insists that its &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/world/2003/04/23/46266.html ' target=_blank>nuclear program is entirely peaceful. While ElBaradei has found no hard proof that Washington is right about Tehran's nuclear plans, he says it is too early to say whether the program is exclusively peaceful.
ElBaradei praised Iran for granting access to nuclear materials inside the country and for suspending its uranium enrichment program, which could be used to make purified uranium fuel for atomic power plants or weapons.
However, he said that Iran needed to provide more information about its enrichment centrifuge program, tells Reuters.
Washington had accused ElBaradei of being too mild on Iran and of trying to obstruct the invasion of Iraq by questioning &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/usa/2001/06/28/8900.html ' target=_blank>U.S intelligence that asserted Saddam Hussein had a nuclear arms program. Still, consensus approval of ElBaradei as director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency as delayed for several hours because of arguments over procedure.
The dispute surfaced after the Japanese chief delegate, Yukio Takasu, opposed making the reappointment the first item of the conference on what he said were procedural grounds. It was not immediately clear why Japan made the move.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea