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Iran piling N-stocks, says UN

world Updated: Sep 08, 2010 00:52 IST
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Iran is steadily stockpiling enriched uranium, even in the face of toughened international sanctions, according to a UN inspection report that raises new concerns about the ability to monitor the Islamic nation's nuclear program.

Citing a broad pattern of obstruction, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Monday that it cannot confirm quantities of certain nuclear materials, has a growing list of unanswered questions about enrichment sites and disagrees sharply with Iran's recent decision to eject two inspectors.

Overall, the agency "remains concerned about the possible existence in Iran of past or undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military organisations," according to the report, including the possible "development of a nuclear payload for a missile."

Iran says that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but US and other Western officials say that Tehran is pursuing a weapon. Experts said the report suggests that Iran is becoming more aggressive in denying inspectors answers about and access to nuclear sites.

"The thing that stands out more and more is how Iran is not cooperating, [even on] inspections under traditional rules," said David Albright, a former weapons inspector. While Iran has long kept aspects of its program hidden, Albright said, "what you've seen over the last year is that Iran is making it difficult for the IAEA to do its job at declared sites."

The IAEA also said that it has not been granted access to a heavy water production plant, forcing it to rely solely on satellite imagery to assess the plant's operations. In a recent reply, Iran said that "it would provide the agency with the required information 'in due time,'" according to the report.

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