IAEA's Nackaerts with Iran's Soltanieh 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Herwig Prammer)
Iran has installed about 1,000 advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges
and is set to test them, a UN nuclear report showed, a development
likely to worry Western powers hoping for a change of course under the
country's new president.
The International Atomic Energy Agency's
quarterly report - the first since relative moderate Hassan Rouhani won
Iran's June presidential election - also said the Islamic state had
started making fuel assemblies for a reactor which the West fears could
yield nuclear bomb material. Iran denies any such aim.
other hand, Iran's most sensitive nuclear stockpile has grown little -
remaining below its arch-enemy Israel's stated "red line" that could
provoke military action - since the previous IAEA report in May. This
could buy time for more negotiations with six world powers.
IAEA report showed Iran continuing to press ahead with its disputed
nuclear programme at a time when the outside world is waiting to see if
Rouhani will act to ease tension with the Islamic Republic's Western
Envoys accredited to the IAEA had cautioned against
reading too much into the latest inspectors' report as it mainly covered
developments before Rouhani took office on August 3, replacing the
conservative hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Iran says its nuclear
energy program is for power generation and medical purposes only,
rejecting Western allegations that it seeks the capability to make
Meanwhile, The UN nuclear watchdog and Iran will hold a new round of talks on
September 27 over Tehran's disputed atomic program, the first such
meeting since relative moderate Hassan Rouhani took office as Iranian
The meeting will be held in Vienna, a spokeswoman for
the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said. It would be the 11th
round of discussions between the two sides since early 2012, so far
without any result.
The talks will be scrutinized by the West for
any sign of increased Iranian readiness to compromise in the decade-old
international dispute over its nuclear programme after the June
election of Rouhani. He has pledged more transparency and less
confrontation in dealings with the IAEA and world powers.
and the IAEA last met in May, without achieving a breakthrough that
would allow the UN agency to resume a long-stalled investigation into
what it calls the possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear
Western officials accuse Iran of stonewalling the IAEA's
inquiry into suspected atomic bomb research. Iran says the allegations
that it may have carried out tests relevant for developing atomic bombs
are baseless and forged.
Rouhani replaced Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a
conservative hardliner under whom Iran's relations with the IAEA
deteriorated. Tehran said on Monday it had named a disarmament expert as
its new IAEA ambassador, extending a reshuffle of top officials dealing
with the nuclear program.