IAEA report on Iran as early as Monday

Iran Materials 15 September 2008 10:59 (UTC +04:00)

The UN nuclear watchdog IAEA will publish its latest report on Iran's nuclear programme as early as today afternoon, sources close to the agency said.

According to those sources, it was "possible but not certain" that the International Atomic Energy Agency would publish the document on Monday, reported AFP.

The latest report comes after repeated talks between IAEA deputy chief Olli Heinonen and Iranian officials in Tehran in August.

The IAEA has been investigating Iran's nuclear activities for four years, but has so far been unable to say once and for all whether the activities are entirely peaceful.

The United States and other western nations fear Iran is trying to build a nuclear bomb.

Tehran, on the other hand, insists its nuclear programme is aimed solely at generating energy for its growing population.

In its latest Iran report published in May, the IAEA accused Tehran of withholding key information on alleged attempts to make nuclear arms.

Meanwhile, Iran's news agency IRNA quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Alireza Sheikh Attar as saying in late August that Iran was operating 4,000 uranium enrichment centrifuges and installing another 3,000.

Enrichment is a process by which low-grade uranium is refined into fuel that can power reactors but that, at highly enriched levels, can also produce weapons-grade material.

In May, the IAEA said Tehran was operating 3,500 centrifuges in Natanz, a huge underground complex in central Iran.

Tehran, which is already under three sets of UN Security Council sanctions over its refusal to freeze enrichment, risks further sanctions for failing to give a clear response to an incentives package offered by six world powers in return for a halt to the sensitive work.