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Iran's Nuclear Disclosures Prompt Differing Feedback

U.S. Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency Joseph Macmanus, seen in November, on Wednesday gave cautious praise to recent steps by Iran to cooperate with an IAEA investigation of its atomic efforts. U.S. Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency Joseph Macmanus, seen in November, on Wednesday gave cautious praise to recent steps by Iran to cooperate with an IAEA investigation of its atomic efforts. (Alexander Klein/AFP/Getty Images)

A U.S. diplomat offered tentative praise for Iran's latest cooperation with an investigation of its nuclear activities, Agence-France Presse reports.

"You can't see steps taking place and say it's not sufficient, those are good steps," said Joseph Macmanus, Washington's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. 

He was speaking with reporters about Iran's latest cooperation with the U.N. nuclear watchdog, which included disclosures on its past work with explosive components of potential use in triggering nuclear explosions. Iran's filing addressed one item on a longer list of concerns under examination by the U.N. organization, which is seeking to clarify whether Tehran ever engaged in studies relevant to nuclear-weapons development.

"This is a long stairway to climb and each step is progress," Macmanus said. The diplomat was more circumspect in an earlier prepared statement, cautioning that Iran's latest engagement with the agency was "long overdue" and "only a first step."

Israel's envoy to the watchdog group appeared to offer a more critical take.

Ambassador Merav Zafary-Odiz said Iran has abused the U.N. investigation's "step-by-step" approach, and the "pace of investigation is unacceptable," Reuters reported on Thursday.

"Iran will continue to provide false explanations and to hide the true nature of its activities," the diplomat said, without elaborating.

Tehran, meanwhile, on Wednesday reaffirmed a standing demand for the atomic organization to supply records backing up its suspicions, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

"The constraints placed by some member states on the availability of information to Iran are making it more difficult for the agency to conduct detailed discussions with Iran on this matter," Iranian Ambassador Reza Najafi said in written comments.

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