- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 19, 2015

In a new assessment that may complicate the ongoing Iran nuclear talks, the United Nation’s atomic watchdog agency said Thursday that Iranian authorities still haven’t addressed allegations that they carried out explosives tests and other activities that could have been aimed at developing a nuclear bomb.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran is honoring its commitment to reduce its nuclear enrichment activities — a promise made during talks over the past year with the U.S. and other world powers — but that Tehran has not addressed specific issues fueling suspicion that it conducted research toward the creation of a bomb.

A confidential IAEA report, obtained Thursday by Reuters and The Associated Press, said Iranian officials have continuing recently to withhold full cooperation in two areas of a long-running investigation by the agency despite a commitment made by Tehran to be open toward the probe.

The IAEA said “Iran has not provided any explanations that enable the agency to clarify the outstanding practical measures,” according to Reuters, which maintained that the agency was specifically referencing allegations that Iranian officials have conducted explosives tests and other bomb-research.

The Associated Press noted that Iran agreed a year ago to work with the IAEA. But like previous probes, the investigation quickly stalled over Tehran’s insistence that it never wanted or worked on such weapons and any evidence to the contrary is fabricated.

Iranian state media, meanwhile, reported Thursday that talks with the U.S. over the Islamic republic’s disputed nuclear program are slated to resume Friday in Geneva.

Western powers have for years accused Iran of lying about its nuclear program and evading U.N. inspections. Tehran argues the program is for peaceful and civilian means only.

Obama administration officials, who spearheaded the talks in hopes of avoiding a military confrontation with Iran, have insisted that Tehran must fully cooperate with the IAEA if there is to be a lasting deal the involves the long-term removal of U.S. and European sanctions on the Iranian economy.

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