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Iran: UN's Nuclear Agency Finds Highly Enriched Uranium

Vienna, 26 August 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says that it has found particles of highly enriched uranium in environmental samples taken at an Iranian nuclear facility at Natanz. In a report prepared for distribution to member nations this week, the IAEA says it is unable to confirm that Iran is not enriching uranium. Enriched uranium is an ingredient of atomic weapons.

IAEA spokesman Mark Gwozdecky said today that Iran must cooperate more fully with the IAEA to help resolve this question.

Iranian government spokesman Abdolah Ramezanzaden said today in Tehran that Iran is open to allowing IAEA inspectors unannounced access to its nuclear installations but needs guarantees that the inspectors would honor military or strategic secrets.

Iran says that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. It says the traces of enriched uranium that the IAEA found resulted from equipment that already was contaminated when purchased.