Iran says new UN sanctions would weaken IAEA's authority

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Iran's envoy to the United Nations nuclear watchdog warned Monday that new international sanctions against his country would weaken the organization's authority.
TEHRAN, March 3 (RIA Novosti) - Iran's envoy to the United Nations nuclear watchdog warned Monday that new international sanctions against his country would weaken the organization's authority.

The comments from Ali-Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), came after the UN Security Council scheduled a session to discuss a third round of sanctions against Iran for its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment.

The 35-nation IAEA's board of governors held talks at the organization's headquarters in Vienna on Monday.

The Iranian diplomat said the latest report by IAEA chief Mohammed ElBaradei confirmed that Tehran has been cooperating with the agency in answering all questions relating to Iran's nuclear activities.

The draft of new sanctions against Iran calls for additional travel bans, asset freezes and tight monitoring of banks in the Islamic Republic.

Addressing the board meeting in Vienna, ElBaradei called on Tehran "to be as active and cooperative as possible in working with the agency (the IAEA)." On the subject of Iran's alleged development of nuclear weapons, he said that "a full-fledged examination of this issue has yet to take place."

The diplomatic standoff between Iran and the West began almost six years ago over suspicions that Tehran was secretly developing atomic weapons. Tehran has always maintained that it needs nuclear technology for electricity generation only. Two rounds of UN sanctions have so far been imposed on Tehran - in December 2006 and March 2007.

The IAEA said in a report released on February 22 that Iran had become more transparent on its nuclear program, but had failed to fully answer allegations relating to nuclear weapons development.

Following the report, Tehran urged the UN Security Council to give up attempts to adopt a new resolution imposing additional sanctions against the Islamic Republic, but refused to stop uranium enrichment.

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