IAEA chief: Credible information shows Iran is developing nuclear weapons

VIENNA (BNO NEWS) -- The chief of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Thursday reiterated that there is 'credible information' that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon and called on the country to agree to a visit by a high-level team to clarify the nature of its nuclear program.

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said that throughout the past three years, the agency has obtained additional information regarding Iran's nuclear program, increasing their concerns about possible military dimensions. He said the agency finds the information to be "overall, credible" and consistent in terms of technical content, individuals, time frames and organizations involved.

"The information indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device," Amano said during a meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors. "It also indicates that, prior to the end of 2003, these activities took place under a structured program, and that some activities may still be ongoing."

International concerns have been increasing for years regarding Iran's nuclear activities. While Iran has repeatedly stated that its nuclear program is for the peaceful purpose of providing energy, many countries contend it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

Last year the UN Security Council imposed a fourth round of sanctions against Iran, citing the proliferation risks of its nuclear program and its continued failure to cooperate with the IAEA.

This month, Amano wrote to the President of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran proposing to send a high-level team to the country to clarify the issues outlined in the IAEA's latest report. "I hope a suitable date can be agreed soon," he said. "It is essential that any such mission should be well planned and that it should address the issues contained in my report."

The IAEA Director General explained that he asked Iran to engage substantively with the agency without delay and provide the requested clarifications regarding possible military dimensions to its nuclear program. In addition, Amano also urged Syria and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK/North Korea) to cooperate fully with the IAEA on unresolved issues regarding their nuclear activities.

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