UN nuclear watchdog to report on Iran probe next week
This “possible military dimensions” report is separate to verifying whether Iran complies with the landmark nuclear deal struck with six major powers in July.
“Next week, I expect to provide my final assessment on all past and present outstanding issues,” International Atomic Energy Agency head Yukiya Amano said in Vienna.
The investigation centres on claims that mostly before 2003, but possibly since, Iran conducted research into developing nuclear weapons.
According to a major 2011 IAEA report, this included high-explosives tests at the Parchin military base and working out how to put atomic material inside the warhead of a missile.
Iran says that the claims are based on faulty intelligence provided by its enemies to a partial and gullible IAEA, and that all its nuclear activities are exclusively for peaceful uses.
The probe was stuck for many years but this July, parallel to the wider nuclear deal with six major powers, Iran agreed to provide information and access to sites including Parchin.
Under that wider accord, Iran agreed to downsize its nuclear programme in order to make any dash to make nuclear weapons all but impossible. In exchange sanctions will be lifted.
But clearing up the IAEA’s probe into what Iran may have done in the past is essential for regaining trust between Iran and the international community, the six powers say.
The final report is expected to be presented to the IAEA’s board of governors on December 15.
Separately, the Vienna-based IAEA is also tasked with confirming that Iran complies with the deal with world powers. An IAEA report showed last week that this has begun.
Iran’s deputy foreign minister said this week that all necessary initial steps will be completed in early January, allowing the so-called “implementation day” for the deal to happen then.
Some experts believe however that this may be overly ambitious.