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UN agency seeks visit to clarify nature of Iran’s nuclear programme

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano

UN agency seeks visit to clarify nature of Iran’s nuclear programme

The head of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said today there is credible information that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon and called on the country to agree to a visit by a high-level team to clarify the nature of its nuclear programme.

“Throughout the past three years, we have obtained additional information which gives us a fuller picture of Iran’s nuclear programme and increases our concerns about possible military dimensions,” Director General Yukiya Amano told the meeting in Vienna of the IAEA Board of Governors.

He said the agency finds the information to be, “overall, credible” and consistent in terms of technical content, individuals and organizations involved, and time frames.

“The information indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device,” he stated. “It also indicates that, prior to the end of 2003, these activities took place under a structured programme, and that some activities may still be ongoing.”

Iran has repeatedly stated that its nuclear programme is for the peaceful purpose of providing energy, but many countries contend it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Last year the Security Council imposed a fourth round of sanctions against Iran, citing the proliferation risks of its nuclear programme and its continued failure to cooperate with the IAEA.

The Director General’s concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme are contained in his recent report to the Board, which also details the issues which Iran needs to address to restore international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its programme.

Mr. Amano wrote to the President of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran earlier this month proposing to send a high-level team to the country to clarify the issues outlined in his report.

“I hope a suitable date can be agreed soon. It is essential that any such mission should be well planned and that it should address the issues contained in my report,” he stated.

“I ask Iran to engage substantively with the agency without delay and provide the requested clarifications regarding possible military dimensions to its nuclear programme.

In his statement to the opening of the two-day Board of Governors meeting, Mr. Amano also urged Syria and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to cooperate fully with the Agency on unresolved issues regarding their nuclear activities.