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Traces of Enriched Uranium Again Found in Iran, says IAEA - 2003-09-29

An Iranian official says traces of highly enriched uranium have been discovered in Iran for the second time since August. But, Tehran is again denying it has produced the material.

Iran's representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency publicly acknowledged that traces of highly enriched uranium were found at a second location in Iran. But Ali Akbar Salehi said the material must have come from outside of Iran because, he said, it takes many centrifuges to produce enriched uranium. He said Iran has not engaged in that kind of activity.

In August, inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency found traces of highly enriched uranium at a site south of Tehran. The government said the material must have come from equipment purchased from another country. Highly enriched uranium can be used for nuclear weapons.

The IAEA has given Tehran until October 31 to prove it is not developing atomic weapons. Iran insists its nuclear program is only for the peaceful production of electricity.

In the meantime, a senior Iranian official said Monday that a team of U.N. nuclear inspectors due to arrive in the Iranian capital later this week would be given only limited access to nuclear sites.

The spokesman for Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Saber Zaimian, told Iranian newspaper Javan that the inspections will be permitted only within the framework of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Earlier this year, Iran allowed inspectors to visit nuclear sites not covered by the treaty. However, after the IAEA demanded Iran stop its uranium-enrichment program, Iranian officials said access to areas not covered by the U.N. treaty would be denied.

The U.S. administration accuses Iran of having a clandestine nuclear weapons program.