The White House said on Thursday that it was closely studying a UN report that showed Iran has possibly expanded uranium enrichment machines and increased stockpiles of nuclear material.
"We are closely studying the details of the report, but broadly speaking it is not surprising that Iran is continuing to violate its obligations," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters when asked about the UN International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) quarterly report on Iran. "As the report illustrates, we are in a position to closely observe Iran's program," he said.
The report showed Iran has doubled the number of uranium enrichment machines it has in an underground bunker.
Carney said the US has made it clear to Iran that they have a limited window of time to stop its atomic work and diplomatic terms offered by the Western world will not remain open "indefinitely."
Thursday's report revealed that Iran doubled the number of uranium enrichment
machines it has in an underground bunker, showing that Tehran continued to defy Western pressure to stop its atomic work and
the threat of Israeli attack.
In the weeks and months when Israeli
politicians increased their talk of air strikes on Iran's nuclear sites, the
Islamic Republic was rapidly increasing the enrichment capacity of its Fordow
site, buried deep underground to withstand any such hit.
The IAEA said in its quarterly report on Iran
that the number of centrifuges at Fordow, near the holy Shi'ite Muslim city of
Qom, about 130 km (80 miles) from the capital Tehran, had more than doubled to
2,140 from 1,064 in May.
The new machines were not yet operating, it
Iran's supreme leader repeated this week that Iran's nuclear
programme was entirely peaceful. "Our motto is nuclear energy for all and
nuclear weapons for none," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told a developing nations
summit in Tehran.
But the expansion in enrichment infrastructure and the
increasing in stockpiles of potent nuclear material revealed in the report will
do nothing to allay fears or reduce the diplomatic and sanctions pressure on
The report showed that Iran had produced nearly 190 kg (418 pounds)
of higher-grade enriched uranium since 2010, up from 145 kg in May.
says it needs this material - which is much purer than fuel needed for
electricity generation - for a medical research reactor, but it also takes it
significantly closer to making potential bomb material.
The IAEA also
expressed concerns about Parhcin, a military site south of the capital that it
wants to inspect for evidence of past nuclear weapons
"Significant ground scraping and landscaping have been
undertaken over an extensive area at and around the location," it
Five buildings had been demolished and power lines, fences and
paved roads removed, the report said, "extensive activities" that would hamper
its investigation if granted access.
"The activities observed ... further
strengthen the agency's assessment that it is necessary to have access to the
location at Parchin without further delay", the IAEA said.
Parchin is a conventional military facility and has dismissed the allegations
about it as "ridiculous".
Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, meeting U.N.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Tehran on Thursday, was quoted by Iranian state
TV as saying: "The West has put sanctions on Iran for years, however the Iranian
nation continues to resist and make progress." A Western diplomat said the
doubling of enrichment capacity at Fordow was a "worrying trend" showing that
Tehran continued to expand its programme.
The report comes after comments made Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at the Non-Aligned Movement Summit on Thursday that Iran will never try to obtain a nuclear bomb, but will not give up the pursuit of peaceful nuclear energy.
"Iran will never pursue nuclear weapons and will not give up its nation's right to peaceful nuclear energy," Khamenei told the gathering of leaders. "Our motto is nuclear energy for all, and nuclear weapons for none."
Iran's nuclear program is suspected by the West of being aimed at developing an atomic bomb, an accusation Iran denies.
Late on Wednesday, visiting United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told Khamenei to take concrete steps to prove the country's nuclear program was peaceful.
Jpost.com Staff contributed to this report.