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News / Nation & World

Iran’s state media claims UN watchdog closes two lines of inquiry on nuclear program

By AMIR VAHDAT and JON GAMBRELL, Associated Press
Published: May 30, 2023, 8:11am

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s state-run news agency claimed Tuesday that international inspectors had closed off two lines of inquiry they had over Tehran’s nuclear program ahead of a scheduled quarterly report by the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog.

The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, however, did not respond to questions over the report published by Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency.

Citing “knowledgeable sources,” IRNA said that the IAEA had closed off its inquiry over the recent discovery of traces of uranium enriched up to 83.7% purity. A quarterly IAEA report in March said inspectors found the particles in Iran’s underground Fordo nuclear site, further raising nonproliferation concerns as weapons-grade material is enriched to 90%.

Iran had blamed “unintended fluctuations” for the discovery at Fordo nuclear site. The Islamic Republic has been producing uranium enriched to 60% purity — a level which nonproliferation experts say Tehran does not need for civilian use.

Meanwhile, IRNA reported that the IAEA had also closed off its investigation of traces of man-made uranium found at Marivan, near the city of Abadeh, some 525 kilometers (325 miles) southeast of Tehran. Analysts had repeatedly linked Marivan to Iran’s secret military nuclear program and accused Iran of conducting high-explosives tests there in the early 2000s.

The U.S., the IAEA and experts had said Iran gave up its military nuclear program in 2003. Iran has long insisted its atomic program is for peaceful purposes.

In June 2022, Iran alleged the uranium traces found at Marivan came from “sabotage” by a third country. The IAEA said in its report at the time that Tehran offered no evidence to support.

The IRNA report offered no details on what Iran did to satisfy IAEA inspectors’ concerns.

“In the opinion of the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, goodwill brings goodwill, and the International Atomic Energy Agency should have a reciprocal and constructive approach to Iran’s cooperation,” the IRNA report said.

The IRNA report comes as the IAEA is set to release its next quarterly report on Iran’s nuclear program in the coming days.

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