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U.N. Agency Avoided Elaborating on Iran Suspicions

Technicians look on as an International Atomic Energy Agency inspector works at Iran's Isfahan uranium-conversion facility in 2005. The U.N. nuclear watchdog last year decided against issuing an assessment containing new information on the Middle Eastern nation's disputed nuclear program, according to insiders. Technicians look on as an International Atomic Energy Agency inspector works at Iran's Isfahan uranium-conversion facility in 2005. The U.N. nuclear watchdog last year decided against issuing an assessment containing new information on the Middle Eastern nation's disputed nuclear program, according to insiders. (Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images)

U.N. nuclear inspectors last year decided against issuing an assessment that may have elaborated on Iran's alleged nuclear studies, Reuters reports.

The proposed International Atomic Energy Agency document might have provided more information on experiments that Iran is suspected to have conducted in a possible bid for knowledge on building nuclear weapons, insiders told the news service for a Thursday report. They said the U.N. organization appeared to shelve the possibility as Iran launched a new diplomatic push on its atomic activities under President Hassan Rouhani, who was voted into office last June.

The agency findings -- had they been disclosed -- probably would have become an obstacle in efforts to resolve international fears that the Persian Gulf regional power is seeking an atomic-arms capacity under the guise of a peaceful nuclear program, according to Reuters. Iran, which contends its nuclear ambitions have been solely nonmilitary in nature, began discussions last week with the five permanent U.N. Security Council member nations and Germany on a potential long-term deal to address the fears.

Speaking to journalists on Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington wants "to figure out if before we go to war there actually might be a peaceful solution" to the dispute, Reuters reported separately.

Insiders suggested the scuttled IAEA analysis might have built on the contents of a 2011 assessment in which the agency outlined some of its key suspicions about the Middle Eastern nation's past nuclear efforts. Last week, the agency reported in a quarterly safeguards document that it had "obtained more information since November 2011 that has further corroborated the analysis contained in that annex."

Iran has challenged the authenticity of materials on which the IAEA suspicions are based. Earlier this month, though, Tehran agreed to respond to certain inquiries by a long-stalled agency probe intended to help confirm or debunk allegations about Iran's alleged past nuclear-related research.

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