Nuclear Watchdog Continues With 'New Sense of Urgency' on Iran

Tehran dismisses IAEA negotiations due to 'remote control'.

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The head of the United Nations agency tasked with monitoring nuclear threats says it is business as usual with Iran, as the Middle Eastern country continues to spurn any international efforts to ensure that its atomic energy program is peaceful.

Yukiya Amano, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said earlier this week he is "unable to report any progress" in his efforts to investigate the Iranian nuclear program and its compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. He says negotiations with Iran must "proceed with a sense of urgency," reports Israeli news agency Haaretz.

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"Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation to enable us to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities. The Agency therefore cannot conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities," Amano said, according to a Monday U.N. release.

Tehran agreed to three rounds of talks since November 2012, but has refused inspectors' requests for access to the Parchin site, where the nuclear program is based. Iran has challenged the IAEA's authority and claims the agency has politicized the issue.

Accessing Parchin, which Iran says is a military site, would be impossible until reaching a formal agreement, Iran's delegates have said.

"The source of the problem was not giving the full authority to the team," said Ali Asghar Soltanie, Iran's ambassador to IAEA, according to China's Xinhua News. Talks were fruitless because of the "remote control" at the agency's headquarters, he said. Amano was reelected to his current position Wednesday, granting him another 4-year tenure to continue his efforts in inspecting Iran's facilities.

"There have been some ups and downs. We really expect and hope that he will change the course of action," said Soltanie, according to Reuters.

IAEA's most recent failed inspection efforts are in line with its assessment of Iran's nuclear program from earlier this year.

In a report issued February 21, the agency said Iran refused to provide a "substantive response" with information on ten new uranium enrichment facilities, or to follow up on claims it has laser enrichment technology.

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"The Agency is unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities," the report states.

Amano has also issued concerns this week about North Korea's nuclear program. The reclusive nation has made headlines pending a new round of sanctions from the United Nations. North Korea successfully conducted a third nuclear weapon test last month.

"I reiterate my call for the DPRK to fully comply with the NPT and to cooperate promptly and fully with the Agency," Amano said. "The IAEA remains ready to contribute to the peaceful resolution of this issue by resuming its nuclear verification activities once political agreement is reached among the countries concerned."

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