Iran slowing down nuclear programme expansion: IAEA

February 19th, 2009 - 11:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Vienna, Feb 19 (DPA) Iran has slowed down expanding its uranium enrichment programme, but the country still is not cooperating fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a report by the organisation said Thursday.
The report by IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei showed that since last November, only 164 additional centrifuges have started producing low-enriched uranium. Currently, 3936 such machines were operating, the report said.

Despite three rounds of UN Security Council sanctions, Iran has so far declined to suspend its enrichment programme but said it was ready to guarantee that the programme was only for civil and not for military purposes.

“We see that the pace of installation of centrifuges and of bringing them into operation has slowed down considerably in the last months,” a senior UN official said Thursday, without speculating on the reason.

Iran was also not cooperating with the Vienna-based agency in clarifying past study projects that could have been connected to nuclear weapons research, ElBaradei wrote.

“There remain a number or outstanding issues which give rise to concern,” he wrote.

The senior UN official said that since last August, “Iran has not allowed any discussion” on the issue.

The IAEA has received intelligence from several member states indicating that past research into high explosives, missile design and uranium metal could have been geared towards nuclear weapons work.

“The Director General continues to urge Iran to implement all measures required to build confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme at the earliest possible date,” the report said.

The report was released to IAEA member states as both the United States and Iran have recently indicated their interest in ending three decades of political estrangement and resume direct talks on Iran’s nuclear programmes as well as the situation in Afghanistan and Iraq.

However, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday his country would not suspend its controversial nuclear enrichment programme for the sake of improving ties with the US.

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