‘Uranium particles’ detected at undeclared site in Iran: IAEA

VIENNA (AFP) – The United Nations’ (UN) nuclear watchdog has detected uranium particles at an undeclared site in Iran, it said in its latest report on the country’s nuclear programme on Monday.

The report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), seen by AFP, also confirmed that Iran has ramped up uranium enrichment, in breach of a landmark 2015 deal with international powers.

Britain, France, Germany and the European Unions (EU) said after a meeting in Paris to discuss the situation that they were “extremely concerned” by the latest developments.

The report said the IAEA’s inspectors had “detected natural uranium particles of anthropogenic origin at a location in Iran not declared to the agency.”

The particles are understood to be the product of uranium which has been mined and undergone initial processing, but not enriched.

The IAEA added that it was “essential for Iran to continue interactions with the agency to resolve the matter as soon as possible.”

While the IAEA itself has not named the site in question, diplomatic sources have previously said the agency has been posing questions to Iran relating to a site where Israel has alleged secret atomic activity in the past.

Sources said the IAEA took samples from the site in the Turquzabad district of Tehran in the spring and that Iran has been slow in providing answers to explain the test results.