IAEA: Iran, Syria must cooperate more

ElBaradei: Iran hasn't added centrifuges since Sept., Syria should be more open on bombed site.

Bushehr 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Bushehr 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei said on Tuesday that Iran was still not cooperating enough with his agency's efforts to resolve outstanding questions regarding its nuclear program. ElBaradei said that while the Islamic Republic was allowing inspectors to examine its nuclear sites, it wasn't giving answers on its past nuclear activities, Reuters reported. "Iran right now is not providing any access or any clarification with regards to those studies or the whole possible military dimension," the head of the UN nuclear watchdog said at a Paris media event. "No, I'm not obviously happy with the degree of cooperation. They shut off any cooperation with the agency over the past few months," he was quoted as saying. Iran, meanwhile, continues to push ahead with its centrifuge arrays, devices which can purify uranium and enrich it to a point where it can be used to fuel power plants, or, alternately, to constitute the core of warheads which can be fitted to Iran's arsenal of long-range ballistic missiles. But ElBaradei said Iran hadn't added any additional centrifuges in the recent past. "They haven't really been adding centrifuges, which is a good thing," he said. "Our assessment is that it's a political decision." In a report published last November, the agency said Iran had not boosted the number of centrifuges regularly refining uranium since reaching a level of 3,800 in September 2008. ElBaradei also said Syria was not forthcoming regarding debris found in a site reportedly destroyed by IAF warplanes in 2007. He said samples from the site were inconclusive and called for greater cooperation from the Syrian authorities. In November 2008, the IAEA chief said that uranium traces found at the site were not sufficient evidence of undeclared nuclear activity and urged Syria to be more open to help clarify the issue. The IAEA dismissed Syrian claims that the uranium traces originated in the tips of shells dropped by IAF jets, where the material is used in small quantities to harden the shells' metal.