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IAEA head calls on Iran, N. Korea to cooperate better on nuke matters

VIENNA, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- Iran and North Korea must cooperate in resolving issues concerning their nuclear activities, the head of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog said Monday.

Yukiya Amano, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said the agency is committed to working with the two countries on nuclear verification activities and urged the two governments to fulfill their obligations.

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"[North Korea's] statements concerning a third nuclear test and its intention to restart its nuclear facilities at Yongbyon, together with its previous statements about uranium enrichment activities and the construction of a light water reactor, are deeply regrettable," Amano said in his introductory statement to the IAEA's annual General Conference in Vienna. "Such actions are clear violations of relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions."

Concerning Iran, Amano said the Islamic republic isn't providing the necessary cooperation so IAEA inspectors "cannot conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities."

Iran's nuclear program -- which its leaders have maintained is for peaceful purposes, but other countries say is for developing nuclear weapons capability -- has been a matter of international concern since the discovery in 2003 that the country concealed its nuclear activities for 18 years, violating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

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A round of talks on the Iran issue is scheduled for Sept. 27 in Vienna. Amano said the IAEA is committed to working with Iran's new government to resolve outstanding issues by diplomatic means.

"It remains essential and urgent for Iran to engage with us on the substance of our concerns," Amano said.

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