IAEA chief: Iran sanctions will make life hard for nuclear agency

IAEA chief: Iran sanctions will make life hard for nuclear agency

New sanctions against Iran would mean international nuclear inspectors have more a difficult job in the short term, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Yukiya Amano told the German Press Agency dpa Tuesday.

Members of the UN Security Council are currently discussing further punitive measures to get Iran to halt its nuclear activities and to cooperate better with the IAEA's inspectors.

"As Iran quite often declares, they don't want to act under pressure," Director General Amano said in his first interview with an international media organization since he took office last year.

Pressure has led Iran to resist Security Council or IAEA resolutions and sanctions in the past. That means that, at times, Iran has reacted by restricting the agency's so-called safeguards inspections and not informing the nuclear watchdog about new facilities in a timely fashion.

But Amano did not wish to predict the long-term effects of new punitive steps.

"For now, a part of the comprehensive safeguards agreement is not implemented," Amano said about Tehran's binding inspection deal with the IAEA.

The Japanese diplomat said that there had been no progress in the past weeks in getting Iran to clarify possible activities related to developing nuclear weapons.

Reacting to the new START disarmament treaty between the United States and Russia, Amano said his agency could take on a new role in this field: "We are able to play a role in the verification area in nuclear disarmament."

While it is not yet clear under which international treaty the IAEA could carry out such work, Amano mentioned the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, a pact that has yet to be negotiated and which would oblige countries to stop making material for atomic weapons.

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