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Nuclear Watchdog Assails North Korea

From Associated Press

A 35-nation meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Thursday called North Korea’s nuclear posturing a threat to peace and urged the communist nation to return to negotiations and let the agency resume its monitoring activities.

The threat North Korea presents is “a serious challenge ... to peace and stability in Northeast Asia” and to attempts to control the spread of nuclear weapons, the United Nations watchdog agency said in a statement issued at the end of the meeting.

From the session’s opening minutes Monday, North Korea and Iran were the focus.

On Wednesday, chief U.S. delegate Jackie Sanders urged U.N. Security Council action against Iran, saying the country was “cynically” pursuing nuclear arms. And she urged North Korea to commit to a “verifiable and irreversible end” to its nuclear program and return to negotiations.

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Sanders called a review of IAEA investigations about Tehran’s nuclear aims a “startling list of Iranian attempts to hide and mislead and delay the work” of agency experts.

IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei refused to characterize Sanders’ comments. But he said that the “ball is very much in Iran’s court to come clean.”

Iran’s refusal to grant IAEA inspectors renewed access to its Parchin military site after an initial, severely restricted visit last month was one of the issues discussed at the meeting.

The U.S. alleges that Iran may be testing components for nuclear weapons by using an inert core of depleted uranium at Parchin as a dry run for a bomb that would use fissile material.

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Iran insists that its nuclear program is for electricity only.


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