No progress on Iranian nuclear issue, IAEA reports

Iran Materials 19 November 2008 20:56 (UTC +04:00)

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Wednesday it had not been able to make any progress on clarifying whether Iran had conducted research that was related to developing nuclear bombs, reported dpa.

In his latest report on Iran to IAEA member states, Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said that "regrettably, as a result of the lack of cooperation by Iran in connection with the alleged studies and other associated key remaining issues of serious concern, the Agency has not been able to make substantive progress on these issues."

The report, which was also submitted to the United Nations Security Council in New York, showed that Iran is close to completing the installation of nearly 6,000 centrifuges.

The Security Council has passed three rounds of sanctions against Iran to pressure it to stop uranium enrichment, which produces fuel for nuclear power plants, but which can also be used to make material for atomic weapons.

Of the 6,000 centrifuges, around 3,800 were already operating at the nuclear facility in Natanz as of November 7, a senior official close to the IAEA said.

As Iran had enriched over 2 tons of uranium since the end of August, the official said "it's a substantial increase from the last report that shows they are learning and getting the (technical) capability."

While officials close to the IAEA had said in September that the agency and Tehran were in a "gridlock", the current situation was worse, the official said Wednesday, because there was no substantial communication between the two sides.

The IAEA has received documents from a number of member states indicating that past Iranian projects on missiles, high explosives and uranium conversion could have been related to nuclear weapons work.

Tehran has stated that some of the documents were forged, and that some of the alleged research activities were not related to the nuclear field.

Iran needed to provide the IAEA with substantial information "to support its statements and provide access to relevant documentation and individuals on this regard," ElBaradei wrote.

The 35 countries represented on the IAEA's governing board are set to discuss the lack of progress on the Iranian nuclear issue at a regular meeting on November 27 and 28 in Vienna.