IAEA report says Iran continues to refuse to answer questions
The U.N. atomic energy watchdog says Iran is hampering surveillance of its nuclear program, refusing to provide inspectors with the information and access they need to determine whether Tehran is trying to build weapons.
In a report Monday, the International Atomic Energy Agency said for the past two years Tehran has refused to answer questions about possible undisclosed nuclear activities, including those related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.
The IAEA also said Iran has failed to
Iran in June barred two experienced U.N. nuclear inspectors from entering the country because of what it said were their "false and wrong statements." The IAEA has rejected the criticism.
Iran's envoy to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, denied allegations of selective bans and intimidation of agency inspectors, calling the report "not balanced."
White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said the report is "troubling" and demonstrates Iran is still trying to develop nuclear weapons capability.
In areas where inspectors have been allowed access, the report indicates slow but steady progress in the production of low-enriched uranium.
The IAEA said Iran has produced about 2.8 tons of low-enriched nuclear material in recent years at its main facility at Natanz, a 15 percent increase in the country's stockpile since May and enough for roughly two bombs.
The report indicated that separate enrichment for what Iran says will be fuel for its research reactor has produced about 22 kilograms of higher-grade uranium at 20 percent purity. This higher-grade material must still be purified to 90 percent before it can be turned into weapons, but experts say that a relatively quick process.
The United States and its allies accuse Iran of using its civilian nuclear program as a cover to develop atomic weapons. Iran denies the charge.
In a separate report Monday, the IAEA expressed similar concerns about Syria's refusal to allow the agency to probe U.S. assertions that a desert facility destroyed in 2007 by Israeli warplanes was a secretly-built reactor meant to produce plutonium.
It has been over two years since Syria allowed the IAEA to inspect the site, known as either al-Kibar or Dair Alzour. U.S. intelligence reports have said the facility, still under construction when it was bombed, was a North Korean-designed reactor.
The U.N. agency urged Syria to cooperate in its investigation, saying potential evidence may deteriorate over time or be lost entirely. Syria, an ally of Iran, says the site was a non-nuclear military installation.
Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.