The declaration satisfied a critical demand of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, which had given Iran an Oct. 31 deadline to clear up suspicions about its nuclear program.
“We have submitted a report that fully discloses our past activities, peaceful activities, in the nuclear field,” Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran’s representative to the IAEA, told reporters, according to Reuters.
“The important thing to note is that Iran had to do some of its activities very discreetly because of the sanctions that have been imposed on Iran for the past 25 years,” Salehi said, adding that they were “legal activities.”
But Salehi also indicated that the origin of traces of highly enriched, weapons-grade uranium found in at least two different sites inside the country was nearly impossible to track, according to news agencies.
Iran has insisted the uranium traces were a result of the contamination of equipment it purchased through third parties and that it does not know the equipment’s country of origin.
“How can you give the (equipment’s) origin … if you have taken it from the intermediaries on the foreign market?” Salehi asked, according to the Associated Press.
IAEA Director-General Mohammed ElBaradei confirmed receiving the declaration during a press briefing and said he looked forward to working with Iranian authorities to “resolve the outstanding questions and to bring to closure this issue that has been the subject of a good deal of international concern.”
“We will embark on an intensive verification process and I hope that we can come to a conclusion that we have seen all past nuclear activities and that all nuclear materials and activities are under agency safeguards,” ElBaradei said, according to a transcript of his statement on the IAEA’s Web site.
On Tuesday, Iran told the foreign ministers of Britain, Germany and France that they would suspend uranium enrichment and sign a protocol allowing for snap inspections of its nuclear programs.
ElBaradei said that Salehi had advised that in the next few days the Iranian government would be sending a letter to Vienna agreeing to the conclusion of the additional protocol with the agency.
Massoumeh Ebtekar, one of Iran’s six vice presidents, said on a visit to Vienna the agreement was “a sign of our sincere commitment to the peaceful use of nuclear technologies.”
“It’s a sign of commitment to our national dignity and our right to use these technologies in a peaceful manner,” Ebtekar said after meeting with Austrian President Thomas Klestil.
ElBaradei will next report to the IAEA Board of Governors on the nuclear verification process in Iran during a Nov. 20 meeting.
If the board finds that serious suspicions remain about a possible weapons program, it could find Iran in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That would mean U.N. Security Council involvement and possible international sanctions.