AFP: The White House said Monday it expected a forthcoming report by the UN nuclear watchdog to echo its concerns about Iran’s nuclear program but refused to comment on widely leaked details.
WASHINGTON (AFP) — The White House said Monday it expected a forthcoming report by the UN nuclear watchdog to echo its concerns about Iran’s nuclear program but refused to comment on widely leaked details.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said that Washington still believed the best way to combat Iran’s nuclear aspirations was through international diplomacy, but as is customary, did not rule out the use of military force.
“I don’t want to get ahead of a report that hasn’t come out yet,” said Carney.
“We certainly expect it to echo and reinforce what we’ve been saying about Iran’s behavior and its failure to live up to its international obligations. “And it will, I’m sure, echo our concern about Iran’s nuclear program.”
Carney was also asked whether there was any possibility that the United States would lead or take part in a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
“We are focused, as I just said, on diplomacy. We, of course, never remove from the table any option in a situation like this, but we are very focused on diplomacy.”
A spike in tensions over Iran came ahead of the release this week of a report into Tehran’s nuclear drive by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Diplomats say the report will focus on the Islamic republic’s alleged efforts to put fissile material in a warhead and developing missiles.
Previous IAEA assessments have centered on Iran’s efforts to produce fissile material — uranium and plutonium — which can be put to peaceful uses like power generation, or be used to make a nuclear bomb.
But the intelligence update will focus on Iran’s alleged efforts towards putting radioactive material in a warhead and developing missiles to deliver them to a target.
“The report is not going to include some sort of ‘smoking gun’,” one Western diplomat told AFP. “But it will be an extensive body of evidence that will be very hard for Iran to refute as forgery, as they have done in the past.”