IAEA urges Iran to explain why there are traces of uranium at an undisclosed location

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) called on Iran on Thursday to explain the existence of traces of uranium at a site not previously announced by Tehran.

Last week, the IAEA published a report confirming that its inspectors “spotted traces of natural uranium from a human source at a site that Iran has not announced to the agency.”

Acting IAEA chief Cornell Verota said he was due to meet Iranian officials next week to discuss the issue, adding that the agency had received no further information.

“This issue remains unresolved,” Verota told the IAEA board of governors meeting. “It is essential that Iran work with the IAEA to resolve this issue quickly.”

A diplomatic source told AFP the agency would send a high-level technical delegation to Iran next week.

The traces found are believed to be uranium that went through a pretreatment stage, but not enriched.

The IAEA did not disclose the name of the site, but diplomatic sources said earlier that the agency was asking Tehran questions about a site where Israel said previous secret atomic activities had taken place.

Sources said the agency took samples from the site in Tehran’s Turkzabad area last spring, and that Iran had been slow to provide answers to explain the results.

The nuclear deal is in danger of growing collapse since the United States withdrew last year and reimposed sanctions on Tehran.

Since May, Iran has gradually violated the limits of the agreement while asserting that it could stop it if other parties offer a deal to mitigate the impact of US sanctions.

The IAEA announced Monday that the IAEA could be used to produce plutonium used to make atomic weapons, exceeding the limit set by the international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program.

Heavy water is not radioactive in itself but is used in some nuclear reactor systems to slow down neutrons from nuclear fission. Plutonium production is likely to provide an alternative to enriching uranium to produce an atomic bomb.

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