Nuclear watchdog says Iran still evasive on nuke issues

Tehran has yet to provide answers about its research; Iranian nuclear chief won’t budge on Arak reactor design

Heavy water reactor facility near Arak, Iran (photo credit: CC-BY nanking2010/Wikipedia/File)
Heavy water reactor facility near Arak, Iran (photo credit: CC-BY nanking2010/Wikipedia/File)

The head of International Atomic Energy Agency said on Thursday that Iran has failed to provide explanations in response to allegations about aspects of its nuclear research that could be used for making atomic bombs.

“I call upon Iran to increase its cooperation with the agency and to provide timely access to all relevant information, documentation, sites, material and personnel,” IAEA director general Yukiya Amano told a meeting of the organizations’s 35-nation board of governors, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, Tehran’s nuclear chief said Iran sees “no more room” for negotiations on the design of its Arak reactor, refusing to give ground on a key issue in international negotiations.

Western nations fear the unfinished reactor could provide Iran with weapons-grade plutonium, but Tehran insists it is solely for research purposes.

Iran has already said it will make some modifications to the heavy water reactor, located 240 kilometers (145 miles) southwest of Tehran, and limit plutonium output.

The United States has proposed transforming Arak into a light water reactor so that it produces far less plutonium, but Tehran has refused.

“On Arak, we have said we were ready to design it so that the concerns are lifted. This matter is settled to some extent on the technical aspect and there is no more room for further negotiations,” Ali Akbar Salehi was quoted Thursday by media as saying.

The future of the site is one of the main focuses of talks between Iran and six world powers under way in Vienna aimed at striking a deal over Tehran’s nuclear program by a November 24 deadline.

Iran denies seeking to build an atomic bomb and says it wants to expand its nuclear program in order to generate electricity and help cancer patients.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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