IAEA chief ‘cannot be sure’ Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful

Amano says 2 missing pieces of puzzle are explosives tests and research that may lead to weaponization

Yukiya Amano of Japan, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in Vienna, Austria, June 2, 2014 (AP/Ronald Zak)
Yukiya Amano of Japan, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in Vienna, Austria, June 2, 2014 (AP/Ronald Zak)

International Atomic Energy Agency head Yukiya Amano said Monday that Iran still needed to hand over key information to the UN body necessary for its investigation of the country’s nuclear program.

“Iran has yet to provide explanations that enable the agency to clarify two outstanding practical measures,” Amano told the IAEA’s Board of Governors in Vienna, according to Reuters.

The two missing pieces of the puzzle relate to alleged explosive tests and other issues related to research that may also be useful for military uses of atomic energy. According to Amano the missing pieces of data should have been addressed by Iran by last August.

“The agency is not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities,” Amano was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The agency remains ready to accelerate the resolution of all outstanding issues, he added, but “this process cannot continue indefinitely.”

A view of Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor (Photo credit: Youtube screen capture)
A view of Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor (Photo credit: Youtube screen capture)

Amano also said he was “seriously” worried about the North Korean nuclear program, which has not been subject to international inspections since 2009.

“I remain seriously concerned about the nuclear program of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK),” Amano said. “It is nearly six years since agency inspectors were asked to leave the DPRK,” he noted in remarks to the board of governors.

“I call upon the DPRK to comply fully with its obligations under relevant Security Council resolutions,” Amano said, speaking the day after Pyongyang fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and vowed “merciless” retaliation over the latest round of US-South Korean joint military drills.

Pyongyang is believed to have a stockpile of up to 16 nuclear weapons fashioned from either plutonium or weapons-grade uranium.

The arms program has prompted a raft of US and UN sanctions against North Korea, which has carried out nuclear tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013.

It also regularly launches missile tests, triggering international condemnation.

US researchers warned last week that the North Korean regime appears bent on expanding its nuclear program, and in a worst-case scenario could possess 100 atomic weapons by 2020.

AFP contributed to this report.

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