IAEA chief sees no progress on Iran concerns

IAEA’s Yukiya Amano said “intensive efforts’ to clarify Iran’s nuclear programme aren’t effective.
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VIENNA - The UN nuclear chief said on Thursday that no progress had been made in trying to clarify concerns about possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear programme, despite "intensive efforts" by his agency.

"No concrete results have been achieved," Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told a quarterly meeting of the 35-nation governing board of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog.

The veteran Japanese diplomat also reiterated his request for Iran to provide immediate access to the Parchin military site, where the IAEA suspects explosives tests relevant for nuclear weapon development were conducted.

He expressed concern that "extensive activities" at Parchin - an allusion to suspected clean-up work there - would seriously undermine the agency's investigation, if and when it was allowed to visit the sprawling facility southeast of Tehran.

"Satellite imagery shows that extensive activities, including the removal and replacement of considerable quantities of earth, have taken place at this location," Amano said.

He said the IAEA was firmly committed to dialogue with Iran and confirmed that a new meeting would be held on December 13, after several rounds of negotiations since January failed to achieve any breakthrough in the agency's long-stalled inquiry.

"There is an opportunity to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue diplomatically. Now is the time for all of us to work with a sense of urgency and seize the opportunity for a diplomatic solution," he said.