IAEA inspector says Iran cooperating with probe into alleged nuclear weapons work, but "lot of outstanding issues"

Tero Varjoranta, IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) Deputy Director General for Safeguards, speaks to journalists as he arrives at the Vienna Airport from his trip to Teheran, Feb. 10, 2014. Getty

VIENNA -- A senior U.N. nuclear inspector describes Iran's decision to answer some questions about its alleged work on nuclear weapons as encouraging.

But Tero Varjoranta said Monday a "lot of outstanding issues" remain before he can accept Iran's insistence that it did not try to make such arms.

Iran agreed Sunday to provide information on experiments with a type of detonator the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency says could be used to trigger a nuclear explosion.

It also said it would answer agency questions on its laser enrichment program. The agency wants to know whether Iran continues with that activity outside of uranium enrichment with centrifuges, which the IAEA is monitoring.

The IAEA said in a statement Sunday that seven steps that Iran had agreed to implement by May 15 also included inspector access to the Saghand uranium mine. 

The seven further steps came about under a deal with the U.N. atomic watchdog meant to help allay international concern about Tehran's nuclear program. These are happening in concert with ongoing talks with international powers over the fate of the country's nuclear ambitions.

Enriched uranium can make both reactor fuel and the core of nuclear weapons. Iran denies any interest in such arms.


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