- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 14, 2006

12:38 p.m.

VIENNA, Austria (AP) — International Atomic Energy experts have found unexplained plutonium and highly enriched uranium traces in a nuclear waste facility in Iran and have asked Tehran for an explanation, an IAEA report said today.

The report, prepared for next week’s meeting of the 35-nation IAEA, also faulted Tehran for not cooperating with the agency’s attempts to investigate suspicious aspects of Iran’s nuclear program that have lead to fears it might be interested in developing nuclear arms.

And it said it could not confirm Iranian claims that its nuclear activities were exclusively nonmilitary unless Tehran increased its openness.

“The agency will remain unable to make further progress in its efforts to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran,” without additional cooperation by Tehran, said the report, by IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei.

Such cooperation is a “prerequisite for the agency to be able to confirm the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program,” it added.

As expected, the four-page report made available to The Associated Press confirmed that Iran continues uranium enrichment experiments in defiance of the U.N. Security Council.

Both highly enriched uranium and plutonium can be used to make the fissile core of nuclear warheads, and Iran is under intense international pressure to freeze activities that can produce such substances.

But Tehran has shrugged off both Security Council demands that it stop developing its enrichment programs and urgings that it cease construction of a heavy water research reactor that produces plutonium waste. It insists it wants enrichment only to generate nuclear power and says it needs the Arak research reactor to produce isotopes for medical research and cancer treatment.


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