U.N. agency: Iran probe reached 'dead end'

Nov. 26, 2009 at 5:22 PM

VIENNA, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- The United Nations nuclear watchdog agency said Thursday its investigation into Iran's nuclear program had reached a "dead end."

Speaking to the International Atomic Energy Agency's board in Vienna, IAEA Director Mohamed El Baradei said he had grown frustrated with Iran's unwillingness to cooperate with the agency.

El Baradei, who leaves his position Monday, said Iran has yet to answer questions about the goals of its nuclear program. And he expressed disappointment that the country had not agreed to export low-enriched uranium overseas, which would ensure it is not being used to make a nuclear weapon.

"It is now well over a year since the agency was last able to engage Iran in discussions about these outstanding issues," El Baradei said in his last address to the board. "We have effectively reached a dead end unless Iran engages fully with us."

The New York Times reported Thursday that the IAEA board is expected to vote on a resolution criticizing Iran for not informing the agency of a uranium-enrichment plant near Qum until confronted about it by western leaders in September.

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only but western countries believe Tehran hopes to develop a nuclear weapon.

Last week, western leaders raised the possibility of sanctions against Iran if it continues to refuse to accept a draft agreement to export most of its low-enriched uranium.

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