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US criticises Iran of dogging IAEA questions over possibly hidden nuclear program

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International Atomic Energy Agency

On Monday, the UN nuclear watchdog, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) questioned Iran over the traces of uranium found at a site, which the country claimed to be a carpet-cleaning facility. The agency officials said that Tehran is yet to respond and provide clarification over newly installed centrifuges.

The UN agency’s scrutiny came after, Iran’s last week’s threat to further breach its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. The country violated the treaty, which bars its nuclear activities, as it installed more advanced centrifuges, and used it to enrich uranium, much more than it is permitted to, by the treaty.

Israel was the first nation to bring the issue to the world’s notice, last year. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the site a “secret atomic warehouse”. He said that the site was used to store unspecified radioactive material, which was later removed.

The acting Chief of IAEA, Cornel Feruta, addressed the agency’s concerns during IAEA’s quarterly Board of Governors meeting. He said, “I think that was a message very well understood.” The Islamic nation has been given two months to answer the Vienna-based agency’s concerns in detail. The agency asked Iran to cooperate, warning ‘time is of the essence’.

On Tuesday, the United States issued a statement to the IAEA’s quarterly board meeting, stating that any delay in Iran’s response to the agency’ question would be totally unacceptable.

The statement read, “Any indication that Iran is providing insufficient cooperation to the IAEA on a matter involving potential undeclared nuclear material or activities raises serious and profound questions.”

It added, “Iran’s failure to resolve the Agency’s concerns on this matter is completely unacceptable and should be of deep concern to all who support the IAEA and its safeguards verification regime.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, also took to Twitter on Tuesday, accusing Iran of running a secret nuclear program.

He wrote, “The Iranian regime’s lack of full cooperation with @iaeaorg raises questions about possible undeclared nuclear material or activities. The world won’t fall for it. We will deny the regime all paths to a nuclear weapon.”

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