Soltanieh: Iran's nuclear activities continue under IAEA full supervision (UPDATE)

Iran Materials 25 May 2011 11:41 (UTC +04:00)

Backgrounds added after fourth paragraph (first version posted at 07:32)

The main message of IAEA director general Yukiya Amano report indicated that Iran's nuclear activities, including enrichment, is progressing with full success and without any halt and under full supervision of the agency, Iran's Ambassador to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Ali Asghar Soltanieh gave his views on Amano report in Vienna on Tuesday, IRNA reported.

Soltanieh said that Amano report indicated again that in spite of 8 years of constant inspections, no evidence has been seen to show any deviation of nuclear materials for military purpose.

'However, certain boring and repetitious issues about baseless accusations and speculations on a number of activities will damage scientific and expert stance of the IAEA,' Soltanieh concluded.

On Tuesday, May 24, the UN nuclear watchdog said it has received new information on possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear programme, heightening concerns about the true nature of Tehran's atomic drive, AFP reported.

In a restricted new report, a copy of which was obtained by AFP, the IAEA also said the Islamic republic has continued to increase its stockpile of low-enriched uranium, in defiance of multiple rounds of UN sanctions.

In the new nine-page report, circulated to IAEA member states ahead of a board of governors meeting next month, the watchdog said it had "received further information related to such possible undisclosed nuclear-related activities, which is currently being assessed."

Furthermore, there were "indications that certain of these activities may have continued beyond 2004," the report said.

And a senior international official familiar with the investigation said the alleged activities in Iran may even have continued "until rather recently", including in 2010.

Amano had written to Iran's vice president and head of its atomic energy body, Fereydoun Abasi, "reiterating its concerns (and) expressing the importance of Iran clarifying these issues," according to the report.

But Tehran has not yet responded, the official said.

Nevertheless, Amano's letter "makes it clear that we're very concerned and that Iran should engage with us," he said.

The IAEA calculated that Iran's stockpile of low-enriched uranium in the main branch of its Natanz uranium enrichment plant had now reached 4,105 kilogrammes.

Uranium enrichment is the most controversial part of Iran's nuclear activities because it can be used not only to generate nuclear fuel, but also to produce the fissile material for a nuclear bomb.

Tehran is under four sets of UN sanctions for refusing to halt such sensitive work.

But the Islamic republic remains defiant and has even started work on a second uranium enrichment facility at Qom.

In February, Tehran had said it planned to begin feeding nuclear material into cascades by the summer. But as of May 21, no uranium-enriching centrifuges had been introduced to the site, the IAEA said.

Last year, Iran also started enriching uranium to a higher level of purification, ostensibly for a research reactor that makes medical isotopes for cancer treatment.

The stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium now amounts to 56.7 kilogrammes, the IAEA said.