Thursday, April 13, 2006

IAEA says cannot confirm Iran's enrichment claim

The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Thursday he could not yet confirm if Iran had enriched uranium to 3.5 percent, the level used to fuel nuclear power stations.

"I cannot confirm that. Our inspectors have taken samples. They will report to the (IAEA) board," Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said when asked if he could confirm if Iran had enriched uranium to 3.5 percent, as it had claimed. READ MORE

ElBaradei was speaking following talks with top officials in Tehran to discuss the nuclear program after Iran said it had enriched uranium to a low-level and planned industrial-scale production, in defiance of U.N. demands.

The West says Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, but Iran says its program is only for generating electricity.

"I look forward to Iran (working) closely with us to resolve the remaining, outstanding issues," ElBaradei said.

After three years of intensive probes, the IAEA has said it still cannot verify that Iran's nuclear program is entirely peaceful, but they have also found no hard proof of efforts to build atomic bombs.

ElBaradei held talks with Ali Larijani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, and Gholamreza Aghazadeh, head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization.