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Iran continues uranium enrichment: IAEA to UNSC

Written by: Staff

United Nations, May 2: A month after the Security Council urged Iran to suspend uranium enrichment, the IAEA is reporting that the work continues, and it can make no further progress in determining whether the country is carrying out illicit nuclear activities in absence of the cooperation from the government.

''After more than three years of Agency efforts to seek clarity about all aspects of Iran's nuclear programme, the existing gaps in knowledge continue to be a matter of concern,'' IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei told the Security Council in a report released yesterday.

The report said, ''Any progress in that regard requires full transparency and active cooperation by Iran -- transparency that goes beyond the measures prescribed in the Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol -- if the Agency is to be able to understand fully the twenty years of undeclared nuclear activities by Iran.'' According to the report, Iran's uranium conversion campaign ''is still ongoing.'' Iran has continued to feed UF6 gas, used for uranium enrichment into large-scale machinery built for that purpose in March.

The report was requested by the Security Council March 29, in its first official action after the matter was referred to it by the Agency, as the Council called on Iran to re-establish full and sustained suspension of all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development.

That action followed Iran's decision to resume its efforts to produce enriched uranium, a substance that can be used for peaceful purposes, such as generating energy, or for making nuclear weapons.

Tehran denies claims by the United States and other countries that it is trying to develop nuclear weapons.

Today's report recalls that, until February, Iran had agreed to some transparency measures requested by the Agency, including access to certain military sites.

However, it says, additional measures, including access to documentation, dual use equipment and relevant individuals, are still needed for the Agency to be able to verify the scope and nature of Iran's enrichment programme, the purpose and use of the dual use equipment and materials, and alleged studies which could have a military nuclear dimension.

''Regrettably, these transparency measures are not yet forthcoming,'' Mr ElBaradei states, concluding that ''the Agency cannot make a judgement about, or reach a conclusion on, future compliance or intentions,'' although it will keep pursuing its investigation.


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