IAEA worried about ‘possible military dimensions in Iran’s significantly stepped up nuke programme’

Tehran, Feb 25: The International Atomic Energy Agency has asked Iran to address “serious concerns” about “possible military dimensions” to its nuclear programme, adding that the country has significantly stepped up its ability to enrich uranium in recent months.

The latest report by United Nations nuclear watchdog disclosed a 42 per cent rise in the number of operational centrifuges enriching uranium inside the Natanz facility in the last four months.

The report also said that work inside a second secret enrichment plant has also been stepped up, with 698 centrifuges operating inside the Fordow installation near Qom, a 69 per cent increase on the number recorded during the last inspection in October.

The IAEA said that Iran had declined to offer full co-operation to its inspectors when they visited the country earlier this month, The Telegraph reports.

In particular, they were prevented from visiting a military location at Parchin, where experiments relevant to mastering the detonation system of nuclear weapons are understood to have been conducted.

“As Iran is not providing the necessary co-operation, including by not implementing its additional protocol, the agency is unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities,” the report said.

The IAEA report pointed out that 8,808 centrifuges were functioning inside Natanz, compared with 6,208 on its last visit, although it cautioned that not all of the machines may have been working.

According to the paper, the latest IAEA report is likely to deepen Israel’s fears about Iran’s intentions, particularly the build-up of centrifuges in the Fordow facility, which is dug into a mountainside and could be immune from military attacks. (ANI)