UN nuclear chief increasingly concerned about Iran

"Iran not providing necessary cooperation to provide credible assurance about absence of undeclared nuclear material," says Yukiya Amano.

By REUTERS
September 12, 2011 13:20
2 minute read.
IAEA chief Yukiya Amano

Amano 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)

VIENNA - The UN atomic agency chief said on Monday he was "increasingly concerned" about possible military aspects of Iran's nuclear program and he urged Tehran to cooperate fully with his inspectors.

"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," Yukiya Amano told the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

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Iran denies Western accusations that it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, saying its program is aimed at generating electricity.

The statement comes after Iran's nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili wrote to the European Union foreign affairs chief on Sunday to announce the Islamic state's readiness for fresh nuclear talks with major powers, according to the the foreign minister.

"A few days ago, Mr. Jalili's letter was sent to Ms. Catherine Ashton ... saying Iran is prepared for talks ... to reach bilateral agreements," Ali Akbar Salehi said in a news conference, when asked about Iran's nuclear work.

"We have received the letter, and we will study it carefully," a spokesman for Ashton said on Sunday.

Iran's nuclear talks with major powers in January failed after the Islamic state refused to halt its uranium enrichment, as demanded by the United Nations Security Council.

The United States and its European allies fear Iran is trying to build atomic bombs under cover of its nuclear program. Tehran denies it, saying it needs nuclear technology to generate electricity.

After talks with his European Union counterpart in Geneva in February, Salehi hoped there would be further meetings, but no date was set.

In May, the EU rejected a similar letter from Tehran requesting nuclear talks, saying it contained nothing new that would justify a further round of meetings.

Iran has been hit by international sanctions for refusing to halt its sensitive nuclear activities, which it says is only aimed at generating electricity.

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