(Reuters) – The latest report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog underscores Iran’s refusal to comply with international requirements needed to allow constructive talks on its nuclear program, the White House said on Monday.
“This latest IAEA report clearly shows Iran’s continued failure to comply with its international obligations and its sustained lack of cooperation with the IAEA,” White House National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said.
He was referring to a confidential report obtained by Reuters that said Iran has been preparing extra equipment for enriching uranium to higher levels.
President Barack Obama’s administration is leading a push for new U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iran. The West accuses Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran says its purpose is strictly for civilian electricity generation.
Iran first started refining small batches of uranium to 20 percent purity in February, saying it wanted to produce fuel for a medical research reactor. This raised Western suspicion because that takes enrichment closer to the 90 percent purity needed to make atomic weapons.
The International Atomic Energy Agency report said Iran has added a second set of 164 centrifuges — nuclear enrichment machines — to help refine uranium to 20 percent purity.
“Most notably, the report outlines Iran’s continued uranium enrichment at both 3.5 percent and near 20 percent levels, construction of a heavy water research reactor, and refusal to permit the IAEA the access necessary to answer the ongoing questions regarding Qom and long outstanding questions that surround a possible military dimension to its nuclear program,” Hammer said.
“In sum, the IAEA’s latest report underscores that Iran has refused to take any of the steps required of it by the UNSC (U.N. Security Council) or IAEA Board of Governors, which are necessary to enable constructive negotiations on the future of its nuclear program,” he said.
(Reporting by Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Eric Beech)