IAEA sets up special Iran task force
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has created a special task force for investigating Iran's nuclear programme, the agency said in an internal document leaked Wednesday, DPA reported.
The leak came as IAEA inspectors were preparing their latest report on Iran, which is to be issued as early as Thursday in Vienna. It would focus on the country's expansion of its uranium enrichment programme and its alleged clean-up of a suspect test site, diplomats said.
"Staff members are hereby informed that the Director General has approved the establishment in the Department of Safeguards of the Iran Task Force," the document obtained by dpa said, referring to IAEA chief Yukiya Amano.
"This would make the interaction of all the (IAEA's) expert knowledge more efficient," one Western diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Another diplomat said the new task force, which includes inspectors and analysts that have been working on the Iran case, is not just a bureaucratic reshuffling but also a signal to both Iran and to Western countries that the IAEA is pushing ahead with its investigation.
The move by Amano comes amid a growing debate in Israel about the merits of attacking Iran's nuclear facilities to wipe out a possible nuclear weapons threat.
Diplomats say the new Iran report is expected to say that hundreds of new centrifuges for enriching uranium have been installed at the underground Fordow facility, in defiance of Security Council resolutions.
Western countries are concerned that Tehran could use the plant to make nuclear weapons, rather than for the official purpose of producing reactor fuel.
The report is also expected to talk about the alleged clean-up activities at the Parchin military site, where IAEA inspectors want to look for traces of alleged tests of warhead components.
The latest round of talks between officials from Iran and the IAEA on probing alleged nuclear weapons research like the one at Parchin ended without results in Vienna on Friday.