Iran has given U.N. inspectors key documents containing information on activities that could be used to make a nuclear weapon and allowed them to question a senior official suspected of involvement in the program, diplomats and officials said Thursday.
The agency hoped Iran's recent decision to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in its investigation of whether the country's military engaged in secret uranium enrichment activities, the diplomats and officials said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation.
At issue is how much centrifuge and related technology the country acquired on the black market starting in the 1980s and the location of the equipment which can enrich uranium to low-grade fuel or the fissile core for nuclear warheads. There are suspicions that some of the material has not been declared to the IAEA and had been used by the military for a nuclear weapons program.
A U.S. official described Iran's decision to cooperate on the documents and permitting questioning of the official after nearly two years of foot-dragging as "important concessions."
"You are chipping away at some of the issues," said the official. He emphasized, however, that Tehran still needed to meet IAEA requests for access to military sites which Washington has identified as possibly being used for nuclear arms-related experiments and other demands.
He and others spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the confidential nature of the Iran probe.
For the Americans, however, Iran's readiness to cooperate is a mixed blessing.
It further blunts a U.S. backed attempt to have the Islamic Republic referred to the U.N. Security Council as early as next month by weakening the argument that Iran was not cooperating with the IAEA probe of its nuclear activities.
The Americans and their allies suspect Tehran's nuclear activities undetected for nearly two decades until three years ago is a front for weapons ambitions. Iran says it is interested only in generating electricity, reports the AP.