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Nuclear report casts doubt on Iran's centrifuges

The Natanz facility in Iran is shown in this commercial satellite image.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

(CNN) -- A classified report on Iran's nuclear program raises serious questions and concerns about Tehran's activities, casting doubt on the Islamic republic's explanation for how centrifuge parts became contaminated with highly enriched uranium.

Tehran had said the contamination was from imported parts from Pakistan, but the report by the International Atomic Energy Agency says that is "unlikely."

"The information provided to date by Iran has not been adequate to resolve the complex matter, and Iran should make every effort to provide any additional information about the origin of the components," said the report, which was obtained by CNN.

It added, "The agency is continuing to pursue its investigation of the supply routes and sources of conversion and enrichment technology and related equipment."

The inspectors found that the enrichment level on the centrifuge parts was at 36 percent -- a level typically found only at Russian nuclear reactors.

This means Iran either has been importing nuclear material or has been enriching uranium itself, both of which Tehran has denied, said a Western diplomat who is intricately familiar with the IAEA.

Enriched uranium is a key component in making a nuclear bomb.

IAEA inspectors detailed its findings in the report titled "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran" -- a report compiled for the June 14 meeting of the IAEA board of governors in Vienna, Austria.

Washington has accused Tehran of pursuing a covert nuclear weapons program, but Iran has rejected those allegations, saying its nuclear program is only for generating electricity.

The 21-page report said "good progress" is being made toward reaching a conclusion about Iran's nuclear program.

It compliments Tehran for its cooperation, but also notes that Iran officials have sometimes not been forthcoming with information and other times sought to delay inspections.

One source close to the IAEA didn't parse words over the delays, saying Iran "continues to dribble out information" and it's "annoying as hell."

IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said inspectors are continuing to go into Iran almost constantly.

"Inspections will continue until outstanding questions are answered," she said.

Another key point raised in the IAEA report revolves around Tehran's desire to import about 4,000 magnets that are crucial for the functioning of P-2 centrifuges. Iran had previously said it was only doing small scale projects with the P-2 design.

"Important information about the P-2 centrifuge program has frequently required repeated requests, and in some cases continues to involve changing or contradictory information," the report said.

The Western diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, "If they were just doing small-scale R&D, why were they seeking 4,000 magnets."

The report also found that Iran is continuing to produce centrifuge components at three workshops despite Tehran's claim it had suspended such activities.

In addition, the report said seven of 13 workshops in Iran involved in making centrifuges were on military sites.

According to the report, the IAEA has not reached any conclusions as to whether Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program.

To that end, IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said earlier Tuesday, "The jury is out on whether the program has been dedicated exclusively for peaceful purposes or if it has some military dimension."

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