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With latest IAEA report in hand, UN chief slams Iran for lack of cooperation (+video)

Speaking in Tehran today, UN chief Ban Ki-moon criticized Iran for failing to reassure the world it is not pursuing nuclear weapons as the IAEA reported its nonmilitary nuclear work continues apace. 

By Staff writer / August 31, 2012

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks during an interview with Reuters after his arrival to Dubai from Tehran, Friday.

Jumana ElHeloueh/Reuters

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Istanbul, Turkey

Even as the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) today backed Iran's nuclear program in its final statement from the Tehran summit, the United Nations chief and a new UN report condemned Iran's lack of cooperation in reassuring the international community it is not pursuing nuclear weapons. 

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Iran has made steady progress with its advanced program in the past six months, doubling production compared to the previous two years of 20 percent low-enriched uranium – the level world powers want Iran to stop production of because it is not far off from weapons-grade – according to a report by the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) made public yesterday. Iran has already converted half of it to fuel, however, making it of little use top Iran for any bomb-making.  

Iran also doubled the number of centrifuges used for enrichment at the relatively small underground Fordow facility, although none of the new ones were yet working.

With nuclear talks between Iran and world powers stalled for months, the IAEA reported no progress resolving questions about "possible military dimensions" that have dogged Iran for years.

Iran has also yet to allow the IAEA to visit a military site at Parchin, where the agency suspects Iran carried out explosives testing that it is now working to cover up, which has "significantly hampered" the agency's investigation efforts. 

Iran insists that its nuclear production efforts are peaceful. Supreme religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei repeated that declaration during the NAM summit.

"I stress that the Islamic Republic has never been after nuclear weapons and that it will never give up the right of its people to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes," Khamenei said in his speech yesterday to open the conference.

"Our motto is 'Nuclear energy for all and nuclear weapons for none,'" he said. "The US and its Western allies have armed the usurper Zionist regime [Israel] with nuclear weapons and created a major threat for this sensitive region. Yet the same deceitful group does not tolerate the peaceful use of nuclear energy by independent countries."

Still, the IAEA wrote, as it has in numerous previous reports, that the lack of Iranian cooperation has prevented the IAEA from being able to declare that all nuclear work in Iran "is in peaceful activities."

No weapon

Both US and Israeli intelligence agencies are reported to believe that Iran has not made a decision to build a nuclear weapon.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon pointedly called for greater cooperation on the nuclear file in a face-to-face meeting with Khamenei and during his speech at the summit, and again today when addressing the School of International Relations.

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