IAEA chief accuses Iran of non cooperation

VIENNA: The new chief of the UN atomic watchdog, Yukiya Amano, today accused Iran of not cooperating sufficiently with an investigation into its contested nuclear activities.

In an opening address to an International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors’ meeting, Amano also said a UN-brokered deal to supply Iran with fuel for a nuclear research reactor was however still on table.

“The agency continues ... to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran, but we cannot confirm that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities because Iran has not provided the agency with the necessary cooperation,” he said.

“The necessary cooperation includes, among other things, implementation of relevant resolutions of the IAEA board of governors and the United Nations Security Council,” the Japanese diplomat said.

It also meant allowing IAEA inspectors to conduct snap inspections,

notifying the agency of plans to

build nuclear plants and “clarification of issues related to possible

military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme.”

Meanwhile, in Geneva, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki today said Iran was working fully with the UN atomic watchdog. Iran has “full cooperation” with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and “that will continue,” Mottaki said at a press conference.

He insisted that Tehran was “most committed” to its work with the IAEA, when asked about his reaction to the Vienna-based watchdog’s concerns.

Amano, who took over the the reins of the UN watchdog on December 1, circulated a report to IAEA member states 10 days ago, the wording of which was seen as blunter and tougher than that used by his predecessor Mohamed ElBaradei.

Amano expressed concern that Tehran may be “currently” working on a nuclear warhead and confirms that Iran has started enriching

uranium to higher levels, theoretically bringing it close the levels needed

for an atomic bomb. But diplomats close to the IAEA said Amano felt too much attention had been placed on the comments.

Yesterday, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the IAEA of lacking independence and being “influenced by the United States.” The diplomats said the

board of governors meet was

unlikely to censure the Islamic

republic over its contested nuclear work this time round, since the body passed just such a resolution against Iran in November.