U.S. wants ‘vigorous’ IAEA report

U.N. inspectors are expected to conduct a “vigorous, comprehensive” review of Iranian nuclear activities, a top U.S. official said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, is expected to file a report on Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program before the end of this month. Nicholas Burns, an undersecretary of state, said recent activity by the Islamic Republic, including a rocket test and a claim that the Iranians were using improved centrifuges to enrich uranium, raised suspicions.

“These revelations last week – the rocket launch and the stories about the centrifuge – mean that the International Atomic Energy Agency needs to conduct a very vigorous and comprehensive review of what the Iranians have been up to,” Burns said in London on Monday, addressing the Foreign Press Association.

The U.N. Security Council is considering new sanctions against Iran; there have been tensions in the past between the IAEA, headed by Mohammed ElBaradei, and the Bush administration over how close the Iranians are to a bomb.

“I know Dr. ElBaredei’s going to present a report at some point in the month of February, and we’re looking forward to that report, we have great respect for him,” Burns said. “But it really is incumbent upon the IAEA to leave no stone unturned and to look at all these allegations and to make sure there’s a bright spotlight being shone upon the Iranian government.”

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