News / Middle East

US: Iran Must Answer Questions Raised by UN Nuclear Report

Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant under construction (file photo)
Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant under construction (file photo)

Senior Obama administration officials said Tuesday that the International Atomic Energy Agency report on Iran underscores Tehran's failure to abide by its international obligations and prove the peaceful nature of its nuclear program.

Officials briefed reporters after the Vienna-based agency released its report, saying there is "credible" information that Iran engaged in activities aimed at developing nuclear weapons.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, says the information indicates that Iran worked on the design of an atomic weapon, and tested the components of such a weapon as part of what the agency calls a "structured" program before 2003.  Iran, the report says, might still be engaged in related research.

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful civilian energy and medical purposes.  Before the IAEA report was released, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed it, saying the agency is being used by the United States and Iranian officials have warned Israel and the United States against taking military action against Iran.

Senior Obama administration officials say that although the report does not conclude that Iran has restarted the same kind of program it had in place before 2003, it raises concerns about possible ongoing research related to nuclear weapons development.

The officials say the report "further undermines" the credibility of Iranian government statements challenging international pressure over its nuclear program.  Iran, the officials say, needs to respond by answering the questions raised by the IAEA.

Senior administration officials say the report does not make any judgment as to how advanced an Iranian effort might be to develop a nuclear device that could be placed on a missile, saying that they could not discuss intelligence assessments.

But they say Iran's government needs to respond to the report.  The officials say the United States will consult with its allies and partners about future steps, looking at ways to put more pressure on the Iranian government - including additional sanctions - if it does not answer questions raised in the report.

The officials were asked about the difficulty of building support in the U.N. Security Council, specifically from Russia and China, for new sanctions, given the report's finding that some of Iran's nuclear activities might have been for peaceful purposes.

The officials pointed to IAEA findings on Iranian work on fast and multipoint detonators as what they called "a very telltale sign" of nuclear weapons development.

The IAEA report is being examined closely in the U.S. Congress, where lawmakers say it provides more momentum for legislation moving through the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate to tighten existing U.S. sanctions on Iran.

House Committee on Foreign Affairs chairwoman, Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, says the IAEA report demonstrates the need for the United States and other nations to take "decisive action" to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Democrat John Kerry heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"A lot of conversations are taking place right now to figure out what the best responses are going to be.  But it clearly means we have to ratchet up on Iran - probably tougher sanctions, among other things," Kerry said.

Republican Senator Mark Kirk is co-sponsoring legislation with New York Democrat Charles Schumer aimed at Iran's central bank.  Kirk says stronger sanctions on Iran might be needed.

"In the end, we may also have to think about an oil quarantine on Iran, so that Iran cannot sell oil.  That would quickly collapse the economy.  If you don't do that, then you basically push especially Israel into considering a military option.  And the reason why is Iran has transferred all of its advanced weapons that it currently holds to Hezbollah, including cruise missiles.  I think there is a near-100 percent chance that, once [Iranian President Mahmoud ] Ahmadinejad develops nuclear weapons, he will give them to Hezbollah.  And I don't think the world can put up with that," Kirk said.

The IAEA board is to decide whether to report Iran to the U.N. Security Council.

U.S. officials have not commented on extensive media reports, including in Israel, speculating about potential military action against Iran.  President Barack Obama has said no option has been ruled out regarding Iran.

Senior Obama administration officials repeated that on Tuesday, saying that the United States is committed to "doing what we can" to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.  But they said there is "additional space" to continue increasing the costs for Iran for its behavior.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs