News / Middle East

IAEA says Iran Not Cooperating With UN on Nuclear Issues

Agency's new chief, Yukiya Amano, says Iran's insistence that nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only cannot be confirmed

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Lisa Bryant

The International Atomic Energy Agency's new chief says it is impossible to verify whether Iran's nuclear program is entirely peaceful, since the country is not fully cooperating with the U.N. panel.

The International Atomic Energy Agency's Yukiya Amano said Iran's insistence that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only cannot be confirmed.  Those remarks were part the new chief's first address to the IAEA's 35-member board of governors, which is meeting this week in Vienna.

"We cannot confirm that all nuclear material in Iran is for peaceful purposes because Iran has not provided the agency with the necessary cooperation," Amano said.

An IAEA report last month for the first time suggested Iran could be trying to make a nuclear bomb.  Tehran denies this and says all its nuclear activities are for peaceful civilian purposes.

Sunday, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said the United States and its allies were behind the IAEA's latest report.

The standoff between Iran and the international community has sharpened recently with Tehran's announcement it is planning to start work on new uranium-enrichment sites.  Washington and its Western allies are trying to build support for tougher U.N. sanctions against Iran, but Security Council member China appears to be a key holdout.

Amano also called for Syria to cooperate with the IAEA about possible nuclear activities at a desert site bombed by Israel in 2007.

"Syria has not cooperated with the agency since June 2008 in connection with unresolved issues related to the Dair Alzour site and other locations," Amano said.

She also urged Israel to share relevant information it had about the site with the U.N. agency.

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