US has 'questions' about undeclared Iranian nuclear activities



VIENNA, Albert Otti and Shabtai Gold (dpa)- US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran of not fully cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and said this "raises questions about possible undeclared nuclear material or activities."
The remarks on Tuesday came one day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said IAEA inspectors had found nuclear material in a secret Iranian warehouse in Turquzabad, Tehran, which he informed them about last year.




Meanwhile, the US and the European Union used an IAEA board meeting in Vienna to jointly demand that Iran cooperate quickly with international inspectors who are seeking to figure out if Iran fully disclosed its entire nuclear programme.
Acting IAEA chief Cornel Feruta has not confirmed media reports and Netanyahu's assertions about the findings, but he warned Monday that "time is of the essence" for Iran to clarify whether it has provided a complete picture about its nuclear activities.
"Let me say as clearly as possible, Iran must immediately provide the IAEA nothing short of full cooperation," US envoy Jackie Wolcott said.
Iran's past nuclear weapons research heightens concerns about these latest developments, she said.
In a joint statement, EU countries also expressed concern about Feruta's comments. "We urge Iran to cooperate fully and especially also in a timely manner with the IAEA," the statement said.
Pompeo was asked in Washington about whether US President Donald Trump could still meet with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rowhani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York later this month and said "sure."
At the G7 summit last month in France, Trump said he could meet with the Iranian president if conditions were right.
The 2015 nuclear deal placed strict limits on Iran's uranium production, meant to prevent the country from obtaining a nuclear weapon, in return for easing economic sanctions.
However, Trump pulled out of the agreement last year, despite no sign then that Iran violated the agreement, and has reimposed tough sanctions on Iran, meant to cripple its economy.
In response to Washington's exit from the pact, Iran has surpassed key enrichment limits. However, neither the US nor the EU claimed that Iran's lack of cooperation with the IAEA clearly breaches its 2015 pact.
Iran's most recent step to boost enrichment research "is inconsistent" with the 2015 pact, the EU said.
Trump has long complained that the deal was too soft on Iran and was too narrowly focused on the nuclear issue while failing to address Tehran's foreign policy in the Middle East, including support for groups in conflict with Saudi Arabia and Israel.
The exit from the nuclear deal has upset US allies in Europe, with Paris in particular trying to bridge the gaps between the two countries, in the hopes of keeping economic ties with Tehran open and preventing conflict.
Iran and the US, once friends, have experienced decades of animosity and have had no formal relations for four decades, ever since the Islamic revolution.
They have recently appeared on the verge of war over the Strait of Hormuz, while fighting proxy battles in various Middle East hot spots.
The latest source of tension has been an Iranian oil tanker which went to Syria, in defiance of sanctions and despite a promise Tehran had apparently made to Britain not to bust restrictions imposed on Damascus.
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Tuesday, September 10th 2019
Albert Otti and Shabtai Gold (dpa)
           


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