In Brief: UN watchdog warns Iran is ducking questions on uranium

Ayatollah Khamenei (Tasnim News, CC BY 4.0).

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) voiced its concern this week that Iran had not clarified queries over possible undeclared nuclear activity after trace amounts of uranium were detected at three sites.

An IAEA report said that its inspection work had established “a clear indication that nuclear material and/or equipment contaminated by nuclear material has been present” at three undeclared locations, with most of the activity dating back more than 20 years.

The agency also said Iran had failed to answer questions over a fourth site where natural uranium had been present between 2002 and 2003.

IAEA director general Rafael Gossi expressed his “concern that the technical discussions between the agency and Iran have not yielded the expected results”.

“The lack of progress in clarifying the Agency’s questions concerning the correctness and completeness of Iran’s safeguard declarations seriously affects the ability of the Agency to provide assurance of the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme”, he continued.

The IAEA claims to have conducted a “proactive and focused effort” to “break the impasse” over the sites since April.

It first voiced its “deep concern” over “undeclared nuclear material” in February, at what Israeli prime minister Netanyahu has called a “secret atomic warehouse”.