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Iran leader denies violation of nuclear agreement

[JURIST] Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] Saturday denied that Iran had broken nuclear development regulations in respect to a newly-disclosed nuclear facility, insisting that the applicable disclosure rules only require notice six months before nuclear material is introduced into the facility for the first time [Al Jazeera report]. At a press conference [WP report] Friday, US, British, French, and German leaders gathered in Pittsburgh for the G-20 summit said in a joint statement [press release] that Iran had violated the terms of agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)[official website] by failing to disclose in a timely manner the existence of a nuclear facility. Under the terms [IAEA board report, PDF] of a 2003 protocol [text, PDF] to Iran's original IAEA Safeguards Agreement [text, PDF], Iran was obligated to disclose the existence of the plant prior to construction. Iran unilaterally opted out [IAEA board report, PDF] of the protocol in May 2007, however, claiming that it did not apply as Iran had not yet ratified it [IPS report]. This position is not accepted by experts [WP/Carnegie Endowment Q & A]. The joint statement came a few days after Iran wrote [Daily Telegraph report] to the IAEA indicating the location of a new facility in the mountains near the city of Qum. French President Nicholas Sarkozy [official website, in French] said Iran must now disclose [AP report] any additional information it has about the facility by December or face sanctions.

In December 2006 the UN Security Council imposed sanctions [JURIST report] on Iran for continuing to enrich uranium and broadened them [JURIST report] three months later. The UN had previously ordered Iran to stop expanding [JURIST report] its nuclear program by August 31, 2006. Iran has said it will completely withdraw [JURIST report] from the IAEA if its "nuclear rights" are taken away. The IAEA and the western powers are particularly concerned about Iranian activities that might lead to the production of nuclear weapons. Iran has repeatedly insisted that its enrichment activities are not weapons-related.

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