WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israel and the United States reacted to a report by U.N. nuclear inspectors that Iran continues to enrich uranium in defiance of sanctions.
The International Atomic Energy Agency report also found that Iran had enriched more uranium than was previously known, bringing it closer to having the ability to manufacture a nuclear-tipped missile.
"The ramifications, in the face of Iran’s continuation of its nuclear program — particularly the stockpiling of enriched uranium while ignoring the demands of the international community — are more serious" than in previous reports, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement released Feb. 19. "Israel reiterates its call to the international community and its institutions to increase the pressure on Iran to abandon its program, which threatens to achieve nuclear weapon capability."
The U.S. State Department urged Iran "without delay" to "suspend its uranium enrichment-related reprocessing, and heavy water-related activities, to make a full disclosure to the IAEA of all nuclear weapons activities, and to facilitate full IAEA verification of its nuclear program."
The U.N. Security Council has imposed three sets of sanctions on Iran in efforts to have the Islamic Republic stand down from its suspected nuclear weapons program.
Diplomats in both countries also reacted to further evidence uncovered by IAEA inspectors of plans to enrich uranium at a Syrian site destroyed by Israel in September 2007. Syria has limited the inspectors’ access to the suspected uranium enrichment sites in the country.
"It is imperative that Syria fully cooperate with the IAEA by granting the IAEA unfettered access to any site or information needed for the investigation," the State Department said.
Echoed Israel’s Foreign Ministry, "Israel expects the IAEA and its head to continue its impartial investigations, including visits to additional sites that Syria until now has not allowed to be inspected. These two states operate clandestinely in the nuclear realm in a way that endangers regional and world peace while flagrantly violating their international commitments."