IAEA head praises Iran for ‘increased openness’ on nuke program

IAEA head praises Iran for ‘increased openness’ on nuke program

PanARMENIAN.Net - The UN nuclear watchdog chief praised Iran on Monday, June 2, for showing increased openness about its disputed nuclear program but made clear Tehran must do more to fully address questions about suspected atomic bomb research, according to Reuters.

Yukiya Amano said Iran's engagement with the UN agency under a step-by-step cooperation and transparency pact reached in November - which includes greater access and more information - had helped the IAEA "gain a better understanding" of the program.

"I welcome the fact that the practical measures agreed with Iran ... have been implemented by Iran as planned," the IAEA's director general told a quarterly meeting of its 35-nation Board of Governors.

The IAEA-Iran talks are separate from those between Tehran and the powers - United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia but complementary as both focus on suspicions that Iran may covertly be seeking the means and expertise to assemble nuclear weapons.

Last month, Iran gave the UN agency requested information about one of the issues that are part of the IAEA's inquiry - concerning detonators that can be used, among other things, to set off an atomic explosive device. It also agreed to address two other areas of the investigation by Aug. 25.

"Iran has engaged with the Agency substantively, including in the clarification of issues related to the use of exploding bridge wire detonators," Amano said.

He underlined, however, that it would take some time before the IAEA would be in a position to give an overall assessment of what it calls the possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear program.

"We are analyzing the information provided by Iran," Amano said, and the IAEA would provide an assessment about the results of its investigation "in due course, after acquiring a good understanding of the whole picture".

He added: "This does not exclude the possibility of the agency making known its initial thoughts on specific issues in the meantime, as appropriate."

Western capitals, aware of past failures to get Iran to cooperate with the IAEA, are likely to remain skeptical until it has fully implemented the agreed steps and others to clear up allegations of illicit atomic work, Reuters notes.

Amano also underlined the need for more Iranian cooperation with the IAEA's investigation. "In order to resolve all outstanding issues, past and present, it is very important that Iran continues to implement the Framework for Cooperation," he said, referring to last year's agreement with Tehran.

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