UN nuke agency: Iran is hampering our monitors

Ayalon praises EU for taking lead on sanctions, but urges increased implementation.

By AP
September 7, 2010 03:45
2 minute read.
Uranium centrifuges.

Uranium 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

In an unusually blunt warning, the UN atomic agency said Monday that its monitoring of Iran’s nuclear activities was being hampered because Teheran objects to giving some agency inspectors access to its program.

The complaint by the International Atomic Energy Agency was made in a restricted report on Iran made available to The Associated Press. It follows Iran’s recent decision to strip two experienced inspectors of the right to monitor Teheran’s nuclear activities after the two reported undeclared nuclear experiments.

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The Islamic Republic says the reporting by the two was inaccurate, but the IAEA stands by the findings.

Objections by Iran to some experienced inspectors “hampers the inspection process and thereby detracts from the agency’s capability to implement effective and efficient safeguards in Iran,” the document said.

The 11-page report devoted a special section to the complaint, reflecting the importance attached to it by IAEA chief Yukiya Amano. Such a section was included in only one previous report, after Iran impeded the work of dozens of inspectors in 2006 and 2007.

The quarterly report, which was being circulated to the IAEA’s 35-nation board and to the UN Security Council, also said Iran has continued to enrich uranium in contravention of UN Security Council demands.

The report noted that while the rate of enrichment had not significantly changed over the past year, it was steady, with Teheran having accumulated about 2.8 tons of low-enriched material – nearly enough for three nuclear bombs – since its program was revealed seven years ago.

The report also said that Iran continued to stonewall the agency in its efforts to follow up on US and other intelligence indicating past experiments meant to develop a nuclear weapons program. It also warned that with the passage of time, chances of establishing the accuracy of such information were diminishing.

With Iran refusing to engage on the issue for over two years, “the possible deterioration in the availability of some relevant information increases the urgency of this matter,” said the report.

In a related development, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon praised the EU for taking the lead on sanctions again Iran, and stressed the importance of increasing implementation and enforcement of those sanctions.

“We are aware that the negotiations between the international community and Iran are due to restart after Ramadan,” Ayalon said. “We view as very important that any negotiations will focus on the core issue of the nuclear matter – a complete suspension of uranium enrichment, allowing free access to IAEA inspectors, and giving full answers to IAEA questions about military research.”

Ayalon was speaking in the framework of a strategic dialogue on proliferation with an EU delegation that focused on the Iranian issue, as well as on non-proliferation issues.


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