- The IAEA's chief calls on Iran to answer questions about its nuclear program
- The agency has said it has "credible" information about bomb work
- Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful and evidence against it is fake
Iran "has a case to answer" about its nuclear program following a critical report from the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, the agency's director said Thursday.
The International Atomic Energy Agency wants to send a high-level delegation to Iran to clear up questions about whether the country's nuclear development is truly peaceful, IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano told reporters in Vienna.
Iran has repeatedly insisted its nuclear program is for peaceful, civilian energy purposes only. But a November 8 report by the IAEA found "credible" information that Tehran has carried out work toward nuclear weapons, including tests of possible bomb components.
"We have issued the report which listed the activities that Iran is expected to implement," Amano said. "This time I have gone into details on the element that Iran needs to answer, which is detailed in the annex. So Iran has a case to answer."
The Islamic republic has responded to the report by calling it a fabrication aimed at bolstering U.S. accusations that Iran is working toward a bomb. Amano said Iran submitted a 117-page brief arguing that the evidence against it was forged, "but in our analysis, that assessment is not credible."
He said he has contacted Iranian officials about dispatching a team to clear up the issues cited in the November 8 report and hopes to complete arrangements shortly after this week's meeting of the agency's governing board.
"It is not appropriate to take a long time," Amano said. "Everyone wants them to have this dialogue and discussions, and we are fully prepared to have dialogue with Iran."