Willing to Sign Nuclear Agreement
December 18, 2003
Iran will sign a
major agreement opening its nuclear facilities to outside scrutiny, the
U.N. atomic agency said, ending weeks of speculation that Tehran was stalling
despite mounting Western pressure and a threat of sanctions.
Mohamed ElBaradei, chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and
an unidentified Iranian government official will sign the pact December
18 at UAEA headquarters in Vienna, the agency said.
The Tehran regime, which announced the signing earlier, made clear it
was laying to rest suspicions that it was reluctant to comply with Western
demands for full openness.
Since October, Iran
repeatedly has said it would sign the accord, but its failure to follow
through had led some foreign diplomats in Vienna to question its sincerity.
"We have agreed to sign...to give a strong response to accusations
against us and demonstrate that our nuclear activities are peaceful,"
VIce President Gholamreza Aghazadeh told reporters in Tehran.
The agreement, tacked on to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, requires
Iran to submit to intrusive and unannounced U.N. inspections of its nuclear
complexes and research facilities.
Iran recently agreed to open suspect sites that up to now have been off
limits and to let IAEA inspectors conduct surprise checks to ensure the
country is not trying to develop atomic weaponry.