Amano: 'Know too little about Teheran's nuclear activities'

Director General of IAEA says there is lack information and cooperation from Iran; expresses concerns over Syrian, N Korea nuclear programs.

Yukia Amano 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Yukia Amano 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano said  that "we still know too little about Teheran's nuclear activities," in an interview with German newspaper Der Spiegel on Tuesday.
He criticized Iran's cooperation saying, "We deplore the fact that Iran does not inform us in a timely manner. We only learned about the uranium enrichment facility near Qom after satellite images were made public in 2009. The construction of other nuclear plants was not discussed with us ahead of time, but was simply decided upon and announced.
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"We still lack comprehensive information about these plants, which we need if we are to develop trust. The United Nations Security Council's calls for a halt on uranium enrichment are still being ignored."
Amano added that because of the lack of cooperation and information and "despite all unanswered questions, we cannot say that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program," he told Der Spiegel.
He defended the progress made in the Geneva talks in December saying, "We have to approach each other to bridge the credibility gap. Every step in the process is important. If the Geneva talks enable us to find a solution to problems with the research reactor, perhaps we can also address other areas of conflict."
However despite the progress he admitted that Iran continues its efforts to enrich uranium "contrary to all UN resolutions."
The interview also briefly touched upon two other countries of concern to the IAEA: Syria and N Korea.
When asked about any new information regarding Syria's nuclear ambitions, Amano said, "Syria isn't letting our inspectors into the country to examine this location in detail. In a letter to the Syrian foreign minister in November, I was critical of his country's cooperation. We also need progress in this case.
"And then we have a second problem with Syria: The research reactor in Damascus is under IAEA supervision, and we conduct routine inspections there. We have now found traces of uranium from a source unknown to us, which is something we also want to know more about. We have been given two explanations to date, but we don't consider them sufficient. Even if it's only a matter of a few grams, we still want to know where they came from and why they are there," he stated.
North Korea
As for North Korea, Amano told Der Speigel it is "a very serious case."
"Unlike Tehran, Pyongyang does have nuclear weapons, and it has already demonstratively tested bombs twice, in 2006 and 2008. There are no inspectors there. Since our people were expelled in the spring of 2009, we no longer receive any direct information."
Amano concluded by reassuring that, "I come from the country onto which two atomic bombs were dropped. I will do everything possible to prevent a recurrence of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That's why I will be extremely vigilant."