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IAEA to Discuss Dangers of Nuclear Proliferation During Top-Level Meeting
Melanie Sully
VOA, Vienna
06 Mar 2004, 17:17 UTC

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The International Atomic Energy Agency opens several days of top-level meetings Monday, and Iran and Libya will be high on the agenda. The agency's board of governors also is expected to discuss the nuclear technology network run by Pakistan's top nuclear scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan.

The IAEA board of governors will discuss the dangers of nuclear proliferation and the global nuclear black market. IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming says Iran's nuclear program shows some striking similarities to the Libyan program.

" The similarities are that they seem to have gotten the designs and components for their centrifuge program from the same source," she said.

The IAEA says, despite promises to fully cooperate with the agency, Tehran kept secret its work on advanced centrifuges that could be used in a nuclear weapons program. The IAEA says it is still investigating the supply chain and sources of sensitive nuclear technology in Iran.

Former U.S. official Gary Samore, head of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, says Pakistan, a new member on the 35-nation IAEA board, holds the key to Iran's nuclear position.

"It's really up to the Pakistani government, which is investigating the activities of A.Q. Khan, to provide that information to the international community, because it would be directly relevant to the question of whether Iran's nuclear program was intended for the development of nuclear weapons," he said.

Iran insists its nuclear programs are purely peaceful, but Washington believes Tehran's program is geared toward building nuclear weapons.

The United States will push for a tough resolution on Iran at the board meeting, and hopes for the support, not only of Europe, Canada and Australia, but also non-aligned countries, increasingly worried by the spread of nuclear weapons and technology.