UN atomic watchdog chief ‘frustrated’ by Iran | Pakistan Today

UN atomic watchdog chief ‘frustrated’ by Iran

The head of the UN atomic agency hit out Monday at Iran’s refusal to address allegations of nuclear weapons research and called on Tehran to allow access to a suspect military site “without further delay”.
“Despite the intensified dialogue between the Agency and Iran since January 2012, no concrete results have been achieved so far,” Yukiya Amano said at the start of an International Atomic Energy Agency board meeting.
“This is frustrating because, without Iran’s full engagement, we will not be able to start the process to resolve all outstanding issues, including those involving possible military dimensions to its nuclear programme. “We consider it essential for Iran to engage with us without further delay on the substance of our concerns,” Amano said, according to the text of his speech released by the Vienna-based IAEA. The word “substance” was in italics. The IAEA has held several rounds of fruitless talks with Iran this year to press for access to sites and scientists involved in what it suspects has been a structured nuclear weapons research programme prior to 2003 and possibly since.
Iran denies conducting any such research and says that the documents backing up the IAEA’s accusations, set out in a major report last November, are forgeries. Amano also said that activities at the Parchin military base near Tehran, where Iran is accused of having carried out weapons research and of removing evidence in recent months, “will have an adverse impact on our ability to undertake effective verification there”. Activities spotted at Parchin by satellite “further strengthen our assessment that it is necessary to have access to the location at Parchin without further delay in order to obtain the required clarifications,” Amano said.
This echoed comments in the IAEA’s latest report on Iran last month that also highlighted considerable progress in another area of activity of concern to the international community, uranium enrichment. This process can be used to provide fuel for nuclear reactors or for medical purposes, but also in a nuclear bomb.
Since the IAEA has repeatedly said that Iran’s lack of cooperation has prevented it from verifying that all the country’s nuclear activities are indeed peaceful, multiple UN Security Council resolutions have called on Tehran to suspend enrichment. In spite of this, as well as UN and Western sanctions that have hit Iran’s oil exports — plus the threat of Israeli military action — the IAEA report said capacity at the underground enrichment site at Fordo has doubled since May. Western countries hope to use this week’s IAEA meeting to turn up the heat further still on Iran by getting the agency’s 35-nation board of governors to approve a resolution sharply criticising the Islamic republic. One Western envoy told AFP that he was “reasonably optimistic” that even Russia and China, seen as softer on Iran, would agree to some sort of resolution — the 12th in nine years. This would however stop short of referring Iran again to the Security Council, diplomats said. The IAEA board was expected to discuss Iran on Wednesday. Other topics included improvements to nuclear safety following the March 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan, as well as North Korea and Syria.

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