US Expects IAEA to ‘Echo’ its Concerns on Iran Nuclear Program

Posted November 7th, 2011 at 4:35 pm (UTC-5)
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The White House says it expects the International Atomic Energy Agency to “echo” U.S. concerns about Iran's nuclear activities when the U.N. body releases a report on Iran later this week.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday the Obama administration believes the report will reinforce the view that Iran has failed to live up to international obligations. Western nations accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian energy program, a charge Tehran denies.

Carney reiterated the U.S. policy of seeking to resolve the Iranian nuclear dispute through diplomacy while refusing to rule out other options such as military force. He did not comment on details of the IAEA report leaked to the media in advance of its expected publication.

The Washington Post newspaper says IAEA experts and diplomats, who reviewed intelligence on Iran's nuclear program, believe Tehran has been working with a Russian scientist and other foreign experts to develop a device to trigger a nuclear weapon.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad responded to the leaks by repeating that Iran's nuclear program is peaceful. In an interview with Egyptian newspaper Al-Akhbar published Monday, he warned the United States and Israel against carrying out an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, saying Iran's military capabilities are increasing and causing “fear” in the West.

Former IAEA official David Albright told The Washington Post that Iran's nuclear advancements include designing a capsule used to trigger a nuclear explosion. The New York Times says some officials briefed on the IAEA's intelligence believe Iran also has built a facility to test such a device.

Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said Monday IAEA chief Yukiya Amano should not release a report containing lies about Iran, because doing so would hurt the U.N. agency's credibility.

The German foreign ministry said Monday Berlin will call for “greater political and diplomatic pressure” on Tehran if the IAEA report confirms Western suspicions about a military dimension to Iran's nuclear work. The U.N. Security Council has imposed four rounds of sanctions on Iran for failing to suspend sensitive nuclear activities that have both military and peaceful uses.

Israeli President Shimon Peres said Friday the international community is closer to pursuing a military option than a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear dispute. Israel sees a nuclear-armed Iran as a threat to its existence. Israeli media speculated last week about possible government discussions of a military strike on Iran.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov cautioned against military action, saying it would be a serious mistake leading to unpredictable consequences. He said there is “no military solution” to the Iranian nuclear issue.