VIENNA (AP) — A U.S. envoy challenged Iran on Tuesday to disprove suspicions it had worked to develop nuclear arms by throwing open a military site to U.N. inspection. He also urged Tehran to curb uranium enrichment, noting that — with further work — the material it has already amassed would be enough for use in several atomic bombs.
Robert Wood spoke to the 35-nation board of the International Atomic Energy Agency as it turned its attention to Iran’s nuclear program and concerns it could be turned into making weapons — a fear that has generated threats of military action from both Israel and the United States if diplomacy fails to persuade Tehran to compromise.
The IAEA late last month showed board members satellite photos that its officials and diplomats said seemed to show Iran moving earth and hosing down the insides of a building at its Parchin military site, southeast of Tehran. That, they said, has strengthened suspicions that Tehran is trying to cleanse the area of evidence of secret work on high explosives used to set off a nuclear charge…
In separate comments to the board, Wood noted that the tons of low enriched or nuclear fuel-grade uranium amassed by Iran are “enough for several nuclear weapons if further enriched to higher levels.”
But his remarks focused even more urgently on Tehran’s enrichment at Fordo, reflecting the concerns of the six powers — the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — that higher-level enrichment being carried out there can be turned to weapons use more quickly than the main stockpile of low-enriched material being manufactured elsewhere.
Calling Iranian plans to expand production at Fordo “a serious provocation,” Wood demanded “its immediate shutdown if we are to reduce the confidence deficit between Iran and the international community.”