IAEA chief: Can't confirm Iran nuke work peaceful

VIENNA  — The chief of the UN nuclear watchdog agencysaid Monday he cannot confirm all of Iran's nuclear activities arepeaceful, carefully choosing his words after tensions were sparked byhis recent suggestion that Teheran may be working on a secret armsprogram.

Members of the 35-nation International Atomic EnergyAgency (IAEA) board were closely following IAEA head Yukiya Amano's statementopening the March board session to see if he would follow up on hishard-hitting Iran report issued last week.

In that document,Amano — who took the post in December — expressed concern that Iran maybe working on making a nuclear warhead, suggesting for the first timethat Teheran had either resumed such work or never stopped at the timeUS intelligence thought it did.

The Japanese diplomat was more circumspect in hiscomments Monday, devoting only four paragraphs to Iran in eight pagesof comments. His assessment that the agency "cannot confirm that allnuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities" was notably lessforceful than the central finding of his report.