A new International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran’s nuclear activities is “proof” that Tehran’s program is peaceful, Iran’s envoy to the UN nuclear watchdog said.
Iranian Ambassador to the IAEA Ali Asghar Soltanieh made the comment late on Friday to Iranian state TV despite the report, circulated earlier in the day, revealing that uranium traces of a higher grade than any found before had been detected.
Soltanieh gave no direct reaction to that discovery.
“The report once again proves to the international community that all Iranian nuclear activities are successfully underway and are uninterrupted, and that there is no diversion in Iran’s nuclear material towards military objectives,” he was quoted as saying.
The report, he said, “is more proof of the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear activities and of our country’s success in the field of nuclear technology, in particular enrichment, and its full cooperation with the agency.”
The agency report said that the traces found at the Fordo site, inside a mountain bunker near Qom, were of uranium enriched to purities of 27 percent. Previously, the highest level recorded by the agency in Iran was 20 percent.
The West fears that Iran could be covertly aiming to enrich uranium toward the 90 percent needed to develop atomic bombs.
However, analysts said that the 27 percent find could just be a processing glitch and not necessarily a sign of a deliberate effort to enrich above 20 percent.
In the report, Iran also said that enrichment above 20 percent “may happen for technical reasons beyond the operator’s control.”
The report said the IAEA was “assessing Iran’s explanation and has requested further details.”
Early this month, it took the samples from the site that were being analyzed.