Iran's nuclear activities stimulate many questions

The United States, Britain and France are concerned about Iran's uranium enrichment program, setting the stage for a push for new U.N. sanctions on Tehran.

The queries are contained in separate confidential documents from the three nations and were made available to The Associated Press on the eve of a report being drawn up by IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei. Diplomats said they were also being circulated to other members of the IAEA's 35-nation board and had been made available to ElBaradei's office.

In 10 pages, they outline what Washington, London and Paris think Iran must tell the IAEA in order to build confidence that the program - which can be used to make nuclear weapons - is in fact only being expanded to generate power, as Tehran asserts.

France, for instance, wants the full "chronology of contacts" between Iran and the nuclear black market network that provided it with the initial centrifuges and other startup equipment needed for an enrichment program. It also asks for IAEA "conclusions ... explaining production by Iran of centrifuge components on military facilities" - a possible link to a weapons program.

It also asks the IAEA to share all "questions put to Iran and answers given" - a condition that the IAEA is likely to refuse because of confidentiality reasons.

Outlining past differences between the agency and Iran on the scope, history and present development of Tehran's enrichment efforts, Britain repeatedly asks "what has Iran told the Agency that has given the Agency confidence that Iran's declaration in this regard is now correct and complete?"

And the U.S. calls for "access to all individuals ... facilities, equipment (and) materials" that can shed light on the suggestions that early enrichment activities were more developed that Tehran admits to and were linked to the military. As well, it requests an assurance of "full Iranian cooperation with all IAEA requests for information and documentation" - something diplomats have said has been denied the agency during its present probe.

Touching on Washington's expectations for the report on Wednesday, chief U.S. IAEA delegate Gregory L. Schulte told reporters: "selective cooperation is not good enough."

ElBaradei has described Iranian compliance with his agency's probe of Tehran's past nuclear cover-ups as the "litmus test" of the country's willingness to end its stonewalling about nearly two decades of activities that were only revealed in 2003 - and have led to sets of U.N. Security Council sanctions.

Under a "work-plan" agreed on earlier this year, Iran agreed to fully answer all IAEA questions on past experiments, suspicious blueprints and diagrams and the full extent of its enrichment program, including its history and present scope.

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Author`s name Angela Antonova