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Iran faces Western pressure to speed up cooperation with IAEA

Iran faces Western pressure to speed up cooperation with IAEA

PanARMENIAN.Net - Iran faced Western pressure on Wednesday, June 4, to speed up its promised cooperation with a long-stalled UN nuclear watchdog investigation into suspected atomic bomb research by Tehran, something the Islamic state denies, Reuters reports.

The European Union - which groups three of the six powers seeking to negotiate a settlement to a decade-old dispute with Iran over its nuclear program - noted that "some" progress had been made in separate talks between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

But, the 28-nation EU added in a statement to a quarterly meeting of the IAEA's 35-nation governing board, "We call on Iran to provide all the relevant information to the agency, to address fully the substance of all of the agency's concerns and to accelerate its cooperation with the agency."

Canada's ambassador to the Vienna-based IAEA put it more bluntly, saying Iran was using a kind of "salami-sliced, piece-by-piece approach" in its dealings with the UN watchdog.

"We are definitely of the view that Iran is moving too slowly to address these long-standing questions. They do need to move faster," Reuters quoted Mark Bailey as saying.

For several years, the IAEA has been investigating suspicions that Iran may have coordinated efforts to process uranium, test explosives and revamp a ballistic missile cone in a way suitable for a nuclear warhead. Iran says the allegations are false but has offered to help clarify them.

Tehran says its uranium enrichment program is a peaceful energy project whereas the West fears it is covertly oriented to developing a nuclear weapons capability. Western diplomats have long accused Tehran of stonewalling the IAEA's investigation.

Last month, Iran gave the UN watchdog information it had requested about one of the issues covered by the IAEA's inquiry. Exploding Bridge Wire (EBW) detonators can be used, among other things, to set off an atomic explosive device. Iran also agreed to address two other areas of the investigation by Aug 25.

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