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Iran ‘Sharply Increases’ Uranium Enrichment, Says IAEA


(RFE/RL) — The United Nations nuclear watchdog says Iran has sharply stepped up its uranium-enrichment drive, tripling its capacity.

The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says in its latest quarterly report about Iran’s atomic activities that it has “major differences” with Iran and “major concerns” about its nuclear program, after inspectors probing suspected weapons work this week returned from a failed mission to Tehran.

The report says the IAEA “continues to have serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program.”

The report by the IAEA says Iran has now made more than 100 kilograms of higher-enriched material, less than half the amount needed for a nuclear warhead.

It is the latest in an increasingly harsh string of IAEA pronouncements on Iran, which was accused by that agency of secret work “specific to nuclear weapons” in November.

Iran denies seeking a nuclear weapon although many foreign governments suspect it is pursuing such weapons or the capability to make them.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in late January that “the onus is on Iran” to prove that “their nuclear development program is genuinely for peaceful purposes.”

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