International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano on Monday said a protracted bid to enable an investigation of alleged Iranian nuclear arms-linked experiments has taken Tehran and his organization "around in circles," Agence France-Presse reported.
The U.N. nuclear watchdog has held 10 meetings with Iran since early last year to determine rules for investigating intelligence indications of past Iranian experiments relevant to nuclear weapons development. Tehran insists its atomic efforts are strictly peaceful.
“To be frank, for some time now we have been going around in circles,” Amano said to the U.N. nuclear watchdog's 35-nation governing board.
“This is not the right way to address issues of such great importance to the international community, including Iran,” he stated in a written speech for the event. “We need to achieve concrete results without further delay to restore international confidence in the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear activities.”
Amano also expressed concern that IAEA investigators might not "find anything" if they are eventually given access to Iran's Parchin military site, which is suspected of having housed experiments relevant to nuclear arms development, Reuters reported. There have been concerns that Tehran has sought to eliminate any evidence of such work.
Meanwhile, Iraq has said Israel would face an unspecified reaction for sending aircraft over Iraqi territory in a potential strike against Iranian atomic assets, AFP reported separately on Monday. Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Hussein al-Shahristani said Baghdad had conveyed the admonishment to Tel Aviv through intermediary governments.
Former Israeli military intelligence head Amos Yadlin has said any strike against Iran's Arak heavy-water reactor would probably take place before the facility's launch to avoid "another Chernobyl," Reuters reported on Sunday. Observers worry the facility could process used fuel to generate nuclear weapon-usable plutonium.
A Western nation envoy in Vienna, Austria, said concerns over the site have grown significantly. "I think it is another red line," said the official who does not represent one of six governments in nuclear talks with Tehran.
"Iran continues to advance its heavy water-related projects," Amano said in a Reuters report. Tehran has not provided the U.N. agency with fresh design data on Arak, which "is having an increasingly adverse impact on our ability to ... implement an effective safeguards approach."
Iran's eight presidential contenders all support the nation's nuclear activities, AFP reported on Sunday.
Saeed Jalili, a candidate and the country's top nuclear negotiator, said Iran would continue its uranium refinement operations “regardless of who is elected president in June." The effort can generate fuel for civilian applications as well as bomb material.