The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says Iran has not expanded its nuclear facilities over the past three months in an apparent confidence-building measure as nuclear negotiations between Tehran and the six world powers continue.
A report released Thursday by the Vienna-based UN nuclear agency said that no new-model enrichment centrifuges were installed in Iran’s Natanz facility during the past quarter. It noted that Iran had only added four older-version centrifuges to the facility.
During the same period no major components were installed at the Arak heavy water plant, in central Iran, the report added.
No new centrifuges were put into operation at the Fordo uranium enrichment facility, either, the report seen by AFP showed.
The latest IAEA report about Iran’s nuclear activities comes a few days after Iran and the agency signed a joint statement on the framework for bilateral cooperation.
Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi and IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano signed a joint statement in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on November 12 on a roadmap for more cooperation on outstanding nuclear issues.
Under the deal, Iran will, on a voluntary basis, allow IAEA inspectors to visit the Arak heavy water plant and the Gachin uranium mine in Bandar Abbas, in southern Iran. The IAEA Safeguards Agreement does not require Tehran to authorize IAEA inspection of these sites.
Israel, which is believed to be the sole possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East with 200-400 warheads, said it was unimpressed by the latest report from the UN nuclear agency.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that Iran has no need to expand its nuclear activities because it possesses enough material to build a nuclear bomb.
Iran has repeatedly emphasized that its nuclear energy program is for peaceful purposes only and that the country does not need nuclear weapons.
Tehran is currently in talks with a group of six major world powers – the US, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany – over its nuclear energy program. The latest round of talks started on November 7 in the Swiss city of Geneva and ended in the early hours of November 10.
The two sides could not reach a deal during the negotiations, but said significant progress had been made and expressed optimism about the prospect of achieving a deal. The next round of talks will be held on November 20 in the same venue.