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IAEA chief Yukiya Amano launches new push for answers from Iran


IAEA chief Yukiya Amano
IAEA chief Yukiya Amano

NCRI - The chief U.N. nuclear official said Wednesday he is launching a new effort to resolve questions about alleged atomic weapons research by Iranian scientists, hinting at a firmer stance by the U.N. watchdog agency in seeking answers from Iran about its nuclear intentions, reported Washington Post Thursday. Yukiya Amano of Japan, who became director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency in December, said he is also pressing Iran for more robust monitoring of a nuclear facility that began producing a higher grade of enriched uranium this year. U.S. officials fear that the facility could shorten Iran’s path to nuclear weapons if the country’s leaders choose to make them.

In his first interview with a U.S. news outlet since taking office, Amano repeatedly stressed the need for Iran to be transparent about its nuclear activities. That, he said, would include a full accounting of dozens of scientific papers and databases -- most of them obtained by Western spy agencies in the past decade -- that appear to show secret research on nuclear warheads.

"What we want to do is to sit down with our Iranian partners and jointly clarify these activities," said Amano, who is in New York to attend a nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference. "If the concerns are removed, that will be very nice. If not, we need to ask for measures to remedy the situation."

On the question of the possible weapons research, he chided Iran for failing for years to respond to serious allegations that he said were based on "very extensive information . . . from multiple sources."

He said the agency was reopening the issue and would press Iranian leaders to provide explanations.

Amano said in the interview that Iran has not yet agreed to IAEA requests for a special monitoring regime for its fuel enriched to 20 percent. The agency typically seeks to install cameras and other technical systems to ensure that a country is not cheating on its enrichment program or diverting uranium for possible use in weapons.