image Photo: Reuters

IAEA: Iran fails to account for uranium detection

The Acting Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Cornel Feruta is scheduled to meet with Iranian leaders in Tehran, as part of the nuclear watchdog’s efforts to press the Islamic Republic to explain the origin of uranium traces found at an undeclared warehouse.

“A meeting between the Agency and Iran is scheduled in Tehran to discuss this matter further,” said Feruta told a quarterly meeting of his agency’s 35-nation Board of Governors in Vienna. “From my point of view, it is essential that Iran works with the Agency to resolve this matter promptly,” he added, stressing “Time continues to be of the essence.”

The disputed site was first exposed last year by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who referred to it as “a secret atomic warehouse.” The Islamic Republic has steadfastly maintained the location is a carpet-cleaning facility. Some two and a half weeks ago, however, the IAEA confirmed to its member states that environmental samples taken at the warehouse revealed traces of uranium that had been processed although unenriched. So far, the U.N. agency has yet to receive a satisfactory explanation from Tehran. “We have continued our interactions with Iran since then,” said the Acting nuclear chief, “but have not received any additional information and the matter remains unresolved.”