UN may lower estimate of 'missing' Iran uranium
Diplomats say discrepancy partially explained; missing substance could be used for nuclear experiments, experts say.
Ahmadinejad at nuclear ceremony in Tehran Photo: REUTERS
VIENNA - The United Nations' atomic watchdog may decide that less uranium is missing at an Iranian research site than it had previously thought, diplomats say, and that may go some way to easing concerns that it may have been diverted for military use. UN inspectors have asked Iran to explain a "discrepancy" after an inventory they made last year of natural uranium metal and process waste at the Tehran facility showed there was 19.8 kg less than the Iranian laboratory's own count.
The United States is concerned the material may have been diverted to suspected weapons-related research activity. Iran, which says its nuclear program is entirely peaceful, dismissed the reported discrepancy as "absolutely not an issue." One Western diplomat said it had since been partly "explained" during talks between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Vienna-based UN watchdog, and that discussions on the issue were continuing.
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