Iran Nuclear NewsLittle headway in Iran nuclear probe: UN watchdog

Little headway in Iran nuclear probe: UN watchdog

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ImageAFP: Iran is still defying UN demands to suspend uranium enrichment and not cooperating with investigations into claims that its nuclear programme has a military aspect, the UN atomic watchdog said Wednesday.

ImageVIENNA, November 19, 2008 (AFP) – Iran is still defying UN demands to suspend uranium enrichment and not cooperating with investigations into claims that its nuclear programme has a military aspect, the UN atomic watchdog said Wednesday.

"Contrary to the decisions of the (UN) Security Council, Iran has not suspended its enrichment related activities, having continued … the installation of new cascades and the operation of new generation centrifuges for test purposes," the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a restricted report, a copy of which was obtained by AFP.

The report added the IAEA had been unable to make any "substantive" progress during inquiries into whether the nuclear programme has a military aspect.

"Regrettably, as a result of the lack of cooperation by Iran in connection with the alleged studies and other associated key remaining isuses of serious concern, the agency has not been able to make substantive progress on these issues," the report said.

"It's gridlock," said a senior UN official. "There's been no progress or no communication whatsoever on possible military dimension."

The situation was worse than when the IAEA published its last report on Iran in September, because then, at least, the two sides had been talking, the official said.

He told journalists that as of November 7, around 3,800 uranium gas enriching centrifuges were and up running and a further 2,200 were close to becoming operational.

That was more or less the same level as at the time of the IAEA's last report in September, the official said.

For progress to be made, Iran must "clarify the extent to which information contained in the relevant documentation is factually correct and where, in its view, such information may have been modified or relates to non-nuclear purposes," the report continued.

"Iran needs to provide the agency with substantive information to support its statements and provide access to relevant documentation and individuals in this regard.

"Unless Iran provides such transparency … the agency will not be able to provide credible assurances about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran."

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