UN Nuclear Watchdog Still Concerned about Iran

Despite some increased transparency on the part of the Iranians, the head of the United Nation’s nuclear watchdog agency said on Monday they are “increasingly concerned” about possible secret Iranian nuclear-related activities with military links. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano, in comments posted on the IAEA website, said the increased concern was in regard to “the possible existence in Iran of past or current undisclosed nuclear-related activities involving military-related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.”

Amano, speaking in a statement to the IAEA Board of Governors, said they continue to receive new information about the matter. “In the near future, I hope to set out in greater detail the basis for the Agency’s concerns so that all Member States are fully informed,” said Amano.

Amano also noted that Iran has declared plans to produce nuclear fuel in contravention to international resolutions. He said that Iran has installed centrifuges in their underground Fordow nuclear facility, with plans to enrich uranium to 20%—a level used for medical-purposes but also closer to the military-grade nuclear fuel, which is enriched to more than 90%.

Not all of the IAEA director’s comments regarding Iran were negative. He did note that he met with two high-ranking Iranian officials in June and July, while the IAEA Deputy Director General for Safeguards visited multiple Iranian facilities in August.

“Iran demonstrated greater transparency than on previous occasions,” said Amano. “Greater transparency and Iran’s full proactive engagement are also needed concerning its other nuclear activities.”

Amano also said the IAEA continues to verify that nuclear material declared by Iran as part of its obligations under its Safeguards Agreement is not being diverted to military uses. But Iran’s failure to be fully transparent has left the overall nature of the Iranian nuclear program and the possible existence of a secret program in doubt.

“Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation to enable the Agency to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities,” said Amano.

He concluded his comments on the matter by urging Iran to “take steps towards the full implementation of all relevant obligations in order to establish international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program.”

(By Staff, www.themideastupdate.com, September 12, 2011)