Middle East

IAEA voices serious concern at Iran’s stonewalling on old sites

Written by Francois Murphy

The U.N. nuclear watchdog expressed serious concern on Friday that Iran has continued for months to deny it access to sites of interest to it, describing previous suspected activities there that could have been part of a nuclear weapons programme.

The International Atomic Energy Agency issued a report in March admonishing Iran for failing to answer questions about past nuclear activities at three sites and for denying it access to two of them.

Diplomats have said the IAEA is looking into activities there long before Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with major powers.

A report to IAEA member states issued on Friday detailed suspected activities and materials including “the possible presence…of natural uranium in the form of a metal disc” at a site that “underwent extensive sanitization and levelling in 2003 and 2004”, the report said, describing the third site.

“Sanitization” is a general term used to suggest suspected activity to remove traces of nuclear material.

U.S. intelligence agencies and the IAEA believe Iran had a secret, coordinated nuclear weapons programme that it halted in 2003. Israel’s obtaining of what it calls an “archive” of past Iranian nuclear work has, however, given the IAEA extra information on the Islamic Republic’s previous activities.

The report also described “the possible use and storage of nuclear material at another location specified by the agency where outdoor, conventional explosive testing may have taken place in 2003, including in relation to testing of shielding in preparation for the use of neutron detectors”.

Read more at Reuters

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Francois Murphy

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