UN report confirms nuke probe of Iran stalled - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

UN report confirms nuke probe of Iran stalled

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By GEORGE JAHN
Associated Press

VIENNA (AP) - Instead of acting on its pledge to help a new probe of suspicions that it worked on atomic arms, Iran has begun dismissing the allegations, U.N. nuclear agency said Friday.

The same tactic has stalled previous inquiries. Iran agreed in February to work with International Atomic Energy Agency, in what was seen as a test of Tehran's professed new willingness to reduce tensions over its nuclear program.

Since then, the agency has sought information on alleged experiments with detonators that can be used to set off nuclear explosions; work on high-explosive charges used in nuclear blasts, and alleged studies on calculating nuclear explosive yields.

Iran denies wanting - or ever working on - nuclear arms. Since February, it has provided information only on the detonators, insisting that they were used for oil exploration or non-nuclear military purposes. While that's possible, the agency says interconnected information suggests that they were being tested for nuclear weapons use.

A confidential IAEA report obtained by The Associated Press confirmed comments earlier this week by two diplomats who told the AP the investigation into Iran was essentially stalled.

The agency in 2011 listed 11 activities that it thought could be connected to secret weapons work. Friday's report said since then, the IAEA "has obtained more information ... that has further corroborated" those suspicions.

The report also detailed continuing major reconstruction work at Parchin, which it said "likely ... further undermined" any IAEA attempt to probe that military site southeast of Tehran as part of its investigation.

The inquiry is separate from U.S.-led talks meant to achieve long-term curbs on Iran's nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief. But Washington says a successful IAEA investigation must be part of any final deal.

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