U.N. Nuclear Watchdog: “Essential and Urgent” for Iran to Address Nuke Program

The head of the United Nation’s nuclear watchdog declared today that it was “essential and urgent” for Iran to address international concerns regarding its nuclear program, emphasizing that Tehran must cease stonewalling inspections of its enrichment activities and what is widely suspected to be weaponization work.

Yukiya Amano was explicit that the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) could not substantiate Iranian claims that its nuclear program is entirely peaceful:

In his speech, Amano made clear that Iran had yet to show the level of cooperation that he wants from Tehran.

“Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation to enable us to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities,” he told the closed-door board session, according to a copy of his speech.

Amano’s statements echoed comments made by U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power:

“Unfortunately, we have not yet seen any clear signs that Iran is committed to addressing the most pressing concerns about its nuclear program,” Power said. “To the contrary, recent developments trouble us.”

Power specifically cited work at Iran’s Arak facility, which if developed further will position the Islamic republic to produce materials sufficient for the production of two plutonium-based nuclear bombs every year.

Alongside its plutonium work, Iran has – per the most recent IAEA report [PDF] – continued to lock in nuclear infrastructure that will enable Tehran to produce a uranium-based nuclear bomb. The U.S.-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) estimates that [PDF] Iran will have that capability – which would see the Islamic republic dashing across the nuclear finish line before Western powers could detect and intervene – by mid-2014

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