VIENNA - The United Nations' nuclear watchdog has set up an Iran Task
Force to handle inspections and other issues related to the Islamic
state's disputed atomic activities, an internal IAEA document showed on
The brief announcement by the International Atomic
Energy Agency, addressed to agency staff, appeared to be an attempt to
focus and streamline the IAEA's handling of the sensitive Iran file by
concentrating experts and other resources in one unit.
Vienna-based UN agency, which regularly inspects Iran's nuclear sites,
has voiced growing concern over the last year of possible military
dimensions to the country's nuclear program. Tehran says its nuclear
work is entirely peaceful.
A new report to be circulated to IAEA member states later this week is expected to say that Iran has installed 350 new centrifuges in its underground Fordow facility since May, AFP quoted Vienna-based diplomats as saying on Wednesday.
is enriching uranium to a fissile concentration of 20 percent -- easily
upgraded to the 90 percent needed for bombs -- at Fordow, buried deep
inside a mountain near the holy Shi’ite city of Qom to protect it from
The Vienna diplomats also expect the report to chastise Iran over sanitizing its military base at Parchin.
ongoing sanitization efforts, meant to eliminate evidence of possible
nuclear work at the site, may make inspections "pointless," according to
Iran indicated on Monday it might allow diplomats visiting Tehran for this week's Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit to inspect the Parchin military base, which UN nuclear experts say may have been used for nuclear-related explosives tests.
asked about the possibility, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad
Mehdi Akhoundzadeh said: "Such a visit is not customary in such
meetings.... However at the discretion of authorities, Iran would be
ready for such a visit," the Iranian government-linked news agency Young
Journalists Club reported.
Any visit to Parchin by NAM
representatives would do little to calm Western concerns or those of the
IAEA whose talks with the Iranians ended on Friday without agreement.
UN body suspects that Iran has conducted explosives tests in a steel
chamber at Parchin relevant for the development of nuclear weapons,
possibly a decade ago.
Last week diplomatic sources said Iran had
covered the building believed to house the explosives chamber with a
tent-like structure, fueling suspicions about a clean-up there.
says Parchin, a vast, sprawling complex southeast of Tehran, is a
conventional military facility and has dismissed allegations about it as
'West urges Arabs not to target Israel at IAEA'
envoys are urging Arab states not to berate Israel over its assumed
nuclear arsenal at the UN atomic agency's annual conference, fearing
this could imperil wider efforts for a nuclear weapons-free Middle East,
A senior diplomat said Arab countries would
criticize Israel but were divided over whether to submit a resolution on
the issue to next month's annual General Conference of the United
Nations' 154-nation International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
said Arab states had not yet decided whether to propose a non-binding
but symbolically important draft text criticizing "Israeli Nuclear
Capabilities" at this year's week-long meeting that starts on September
They expressed concern that an Arab move against Israel would
discourage the Jewish state from attending the talks due to be held
later this year on a nuclear arms-free Middle East.
plan for an international meeting to lay the groundwork for the possible
creation of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction was
agreed at a review conference on the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
(NPT) in 2010.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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