Iran Promises to Relieve International Concerns Over Its Nuclear Program

Iran will "remove" global concerns about its atomic program during negotiations with the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency to get Tehran to accept unrestricted inspections, the head of the Iran's atomic energy organization said Wednesday.

The head of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei (search), will present the agency's board with a report on Iran's nuclear activities at a meeting next month. Washington has accused Iran of running a clandestine nuclear weapons program and wants the IAEA to declare Tehran in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (search).

"I give the possibility that before the September meeting, we will have positive developments on this issue. We will take effective steps to make progress on the protocol," Gholamreza Aghazadeh, Iran's atomic energy chief, told reporters after attending a Cabinet meeting Wednesday.

"We will remove international concerns. In return, we expect transparency from other parties to the degree we make progress."

Aghazadeh did not elaborate.

Last week, experts from the IAEA met with Iranian officials to discuss unrestricted inspections. Aghazadeh said those experts visited nuclear sites and took samples.

"We had extensive cooperation with the experts and tried to meet all expectations of the IAEA," Aghazadeh said.

He added that IAEA inspectors were allowed to visit Kalay-e-Electric Co. (search) in west Tehran, two months after inspectors were turned away from the site when they came to take environmental samples.

Meanwhile, Iran's Supreme Nuclear Council approved plans to build a second reactor at Bushehr, state-run Tehran television reported Wednesday. The broadcast gave no further details.

Iran plans to produce 7,000 megawatts of electricity from nuclear fuel by 2021. Its first nuclear power plant, being built by the Russians at Bushehr on the shores of the Persian Gulf, will be completed by next year.

Iran says its nuclear program is designed solely to produce electrical energy, particularly after its oil wells run dry.

Last week, President Mohammad Khatami said Iran will not give up its nuclear program but insisted his country had no desire to produce nuclear weapons, which the United States accuses Iran of seeking, "because we cannot use such weapons based on our Islamic and moral teachings."

Khatami hinted Iran may sign the protocol "if the world recognizes" his country's right to the peaceful use of nuclear technology.