Iranian nuclear program 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS)
VIENNA - The UN's nuclear watchdog will once again highlight concern about possible military aspects to Iran's nuclear activities in its latest quarterly report, due to be submitted to member states in the next few days, diplomats said they believed .
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"I expect it will be a bit tougher than the last one. Still a number of outstanding matters related to PMD (possible military dimensions) that Iran refuses to answer," a Western envoy told Reuters on Thursday.
An Iranian effort to show rare openness about its disputed nuclear program is doing little to dispel Western suspicions about Tehran's atomic ambitions, with one Vienna-based envoy dismissing it as just a "charm offensive".
Another diplomat painted a similar picture, saying Tehran had failed to address the IAEA's core concerns.
Western nations suspect Iran is trying to use its nuclear program to
develop atomic weapons. The Islamic Republic has denied the charge,
saying it wants to produce nuclear energy.
The UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) -- tasked with ensuring
that nuclear technology is not diverted for military aims -- has
repeatedly complained about Iran's lack of cooperation over allegations
of military-linked nuclear work.
In previous reports, the IAEA has in vain urged Tehran to provide prompt
access to sites, equipment, documents and people relevant for its
In a move that Iran said showed the country's "100 percent transparency
and openness," it allowed a senior IAEA inspector to tour the Islamic
state's main atomic facilities last month, including one for developing
advanced enrichment machines.
The IAEA has been trying since 2008 to gain access to sites linked to
the manufacture of centrifuges used to refine uranium -- material which
can have both civilian and military purposes -- but Iran had until now
ignored the requests.
Tehran last week also signaled some flexibility in responding to IAEA
questions, with state television quoting a top nuclear official as
saying the agency should present "their main claims" together with
relevant evidence and documents.
But the Western envoy suggested Iran was merely using an old tactic to
ward off any harsher international pressure on the country, while
pressing ahead with its nuclear work.
"The Iranians' recent charm offensive has not changed the Agency's view on what Iran still needs to do," he said.