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'IAEA report 'proof' Iran atomic work peaceful'

A new International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran's nuclear activities is "proof" that Tehran's programme is peaceful, Iran's envoy to the UN nuclear watchdog said.

world Updated: May 26, 2012 11:33 IST

A new International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran's nuclear activities is "proof" that Tehran's programme is peaceful, Iran's envoy to the UN nuclear watchdog said.

Ali Asghar Soltanieh made the comment late Friday to Iranian state television despite the report, circulated earlier in the day, revealing that unranium traces of a higher grade than any found before had been detected.

Soltaniyeh gave no direct reaction to that discovery.

"The report once again proves to the international community that all Iranian nuclear activities are sucessfully underway and are uninterrupted, and that there is no diversion in Iran's nuclear material towards military objectives," he was quoted as saying.

The report, he said, "is more proof of the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear activities and of our country's success in the field of nuclear technology, in particular enrichment, and its full cooperation with the agency."

The agency report said that the traces found at the Fordo site, inside a mountain bunker near Qom, were of uranium enriched to purities of 27%. Previously, the highest level recorded by the agency in Iran was 20%.

The West fears that Iran could be covertly aiming to enrich uranium towards the 90 percent needed to develop atomic bombs.

But analysts cautioned that the 27% find could just be a processing glitch and not necessarily a sign of a deliberate effort to enrich above 20%.

In the report, which was seen by AFP, Iran also explained that enrichment above 20% "may happen for technical reasons beyond the operator's control."

The report said the IAEA was "assessing Iran's explanation and has requested further details." Early this month it took samples from the site that were being analysed.