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Confidential IAEA report states 'serious concerns' about Iran's nuclear power

The International Atomic Energy Agency repeated concerns about Iran's nuclear program, reporting that the country has stepped up activity at nuclear facilities.

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Iran has been testing missiles with nuclear capabilities that could knock out U.S. bases in the Gulf. (Mehdi Marizad/AFP/Getty Images)

The International Atomic Energy Agency continues to have "serious concerns" about Iran's nuclear program, its latest report reveals.

The confidential document, leaked to the public today, states that the United Nations watchdog has not been able to verify whether or not Iran is pursuing atomic weapons because of the government's refusals to cooperate. Meanwhile uranium-enrichment facilities have been expanded.

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IAEA inspectors' recent visit is described as unproductive. Iran denied the agency access to the Parchin military site, and the two sides failed to reach agreement on how to resolve outstanding concerns.

According to the BBC, the IAEA suspects Iran of conducting experiments at Parchin that could be linked to explosives for nuclear missiles, aided by an unknown "foreign expert" from another nuclear power.

At other sites, the IAEA said, Iran has begun increasing its capacity to enrich uranium, with preparations made for additional centrifuges at both the Natanz and Fordow facilities since November.

According to the Guardian:

"The report found that Iran has now produced nearly five and a half metric tons of low enriched uranium – enriched to about 3.5 percent – and about 109kg of uranium enriched to 20 percent. If enriched further, to more than 90 percent purity, the total stockpile would be more than enough to make four nuclear warheads."

Both Natanz and Fordow remain "under Agency safeguards," the report said. However, Iran has not given the IAEA full details of the ten new enrichment sites it is planning, nor the laser-enrichment technology it claims to possess.

"The Agency continues to have serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program," the report concludes, urging Iran to respond to the IAEA's queries, beginning with those about Parchin.

Its conclusions will be discussed at an IAEA board meeting on March 5.

Iran says that its enrichment activities are designed only to provide fuel for nuclear power plants, and insists that its entire program is peaceful.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/120224/iaea-report-serious-concerns-iran-nuclear-program