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Nuclear watchdog criticizes Iran

Iran's cooperation is "less than satisfactory," ElBaradei said.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

(CNN) -- International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei was critical Monday of Iran's cooperation with his agency as the IAEA board of governors met.

Iran's cooperation with U.N. nuclear inspectors is "less than satisfactory," ElBaradei said.

"We still have a central issue, and that is whether Iran has declared all its (uranium) enrichment activities."

But, ElBaradei said, there is "steady progress" in the rest of the agency's work with the Islamic republic.

"We have also made progress on verifying Iran's suspension of enrichment related and reprocessing activities," he said, "although the suspension is not yet comprehensive due to the continued production of centrifuge components at some workshops."

Enriched uranium is a key component in making a nuclear bomb, and inspectors found enrichment level on centrifuge parts 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 familiar with the IAEA.

But ElBaradei added that a resolution on the issue will require cooperation from those nations that might be the source of Iran's equipment.

"I would call on those states to make every effort to help us resolve these issues," he said.

"I should clarify, in this regard, that our mention in some of our reports of 'supplier states,' or the involvement of other states in different forms, does not imply that the transactions involved took place with the knowledge of the respective governments."

In his report to the board of governor's general conference in Vienna, ElBaradei also said that Libya has not yet provided some information to complete the agency's assessment of its past nuclear activities, but said they are making "good progress."

ElBaradei also called on the U.N. Security Council to send IAEA inspectors and monitors back into Iraq soon.

"Given the current level of instability in the country, and Iraq's past nuclear weapons related activities and capabilities, it is important and urgent that a credible verification and monitoring system be reinstalled," he said.

IAEA spokesman Mark Gwozdecky told CNN: "Iran needs to ensure that there are no more surprises in future, that we have learned everything that we should have learned about their nuclear program.

"They also need to provide a little more information that helps us determine the nature and history of their so-called P2 centrifuge program, as well as some information on how certain enriched uranium particles could have ended up in the country.

"Frankly it's not just Iran that can help us -- there are some other countries that may have some information on this and we are hoping they will shortly come forward and help us collectively resolve this question which has been with us now for more than a year."

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