By David Gollust
28 August 2009
The State Department said Friday the latest International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran's nuclear program shows it is still not being responsive to concerns that it might be seeking nuclear weapons. Senior diplomats from major world powers meet next week in Germany to discuss nuclear diplomacy with Iran.
U.S. experts are still studying the lengthy IAEA document, but officials here say it is already clear from the report that Iran is still not being forthcoming with the U.N. agency on its nuclear intentions.
The highly-anticipated IAEA report said Iran is continuing to enrich uranium though at a somewhat slower rate than reported previously.
It acknowledged that Tehran has again given U.N. inspectors access to its main nuclear complex at Natanz, but said it has failed to address key nuclear questions posed by the IAEA including if there are military dimensions to its program.
Initial U.S. reaction came from State Department Spokesman Ian Kelly, who said it is clear Tehran is not cooperating fully with a world community skeptical about its assertions that its nuclear program is peaceful.
" We are very concerned that they are not addressing the concerns of the international community," he said. "The main concerns that we have are that they cooperate more fully with the IAEA. They say that they want to have the right to a civilian nuclear energy program but they also have the obligation to show the world that that is indeed what they intend to do. And they still have to address those concerns that what they are intending to do is develop a weapons program."
The IAEA report comes at a key juncture in international diplomacy on the Iranian nuclear program.
Senior diplomats of the five permanent U.N. Security Council member countries and Germany, who last year made a renewed offer of incentives for Iran to halt enrichment and return to nuclear negotiations, are to discuss the IAEA report at a meeting in Frankfurt, Germany next Wednesday.
Spokesman Kelly said the U.S. delegate to the meeting of the so-called P-Five-Plus-One will be Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns.
The Iranian nuclear program is also expected to be a major issue on the sidelines of the new U.N. General Assembly which convenes in mid-September in New York, and at the summit of the G-20 major world economies September 24 and 25 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have warned this week of the prospect of stronger sanctions against Iran if it continues its nuclear activities.
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