Iran advancing its uranium enrichment program

Iran is advancing its uranium enrichment program, but the U.N. atomic monitoring organization still cannot determine whether the country is secretly developing nuclear weapons, according to an agency report made public on Monday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency "has not seen any diversion of nuclear material to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices," Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said in a report to the IAEA's board. But the agency was not "in a position to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran," the report added.

ElBaradei distributed the assessment to the 35 board members on Monday in advance of a meeting in Vienna next week to debate plans for exerting greater international pressure on Tehran to halt any nuclear developments that could facilitate production of weapons. The report's contents were shared with reporters by diplomats monitoring the debate.

ElBaradei's report criticizes Iran for failing to reveal "the scope and nature" of its nuclear program despite three years of IAEA monitoring efforts. At the same time, the report noted that Iran had made some incremental efforts to meet the agency's requests for information.

Last Sunday, Tehran permitted an IAEA official to meet with an Iranian official involved in purchases of nuclear-related equipment that could be used for either civilian or military purposes, the report said. Iran allowed inspectors access to some, but not all, of that equipment, the report added, reports Washington Post.

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