The head of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog agency said Iran broke the law by not disclosing sooner its recently revealed uranium enrichment site.
“Iran was supposed to inform us on the day it was decided to construct the facility. They have not done that,” International Atomic Energy Agency’s Mohamed El Baradei told CNN’s sister station, CNN-IBN. “They are saying that this was meant to be a back-up facility in case we were attacked and so they could not tell us earlier on. “Nonetheless, they have been on the wrong side of the law, you know in so far as informing the agency about the construction and as you have seen it, it has created concern in the international community,” he said. Last week, Iran wrote a letter to the IAEA revealing the existence of the facility. The admission prompted President Obama and the leaders of Britain and France to publicly chide the Islamic republic and threaten further sanctions. Iran claims its nuclear enrichment program is intended for peaceful purposes, but the international community accuses the country of continuing to try to develop nuclear weapons capability. Watch uproar over Iran’s nuclear ambitions The facility is located on a military base near the city of Qom, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) southwest of Tehran, and is thought to be capable of housing 3,000 centrifuges, according to the officials and the IAEA. The equipment is not enough to produce nuclear fuel to power a reactor, but sufficient to manufacture bomb-making material, according to a U.S. diplomatic source who read the letter.
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“Whether they have done some weaponization studies as was claimed is still an outstanding issue. But I have not seen any credible evidence to suggest that Iran has an ongoing nuclear program today. I hope they are not having one,” El Baradei said. Iran has said there is no nuclear material at the site. It announced Tuesday it will allow the IAEA to inspect the facility, but did not offer a timetable.
El Baradei’s comments came ahead of an expected meeting between Iran’s nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, and representatives of the five permanent United Nations Security Council members, plus Germany. The meeting is scheduled to take place Thursday in Geneva, Switzerland.