Skip to main content

U.N. watchdog: Iran makes significant nuclear steps

By Michael Martinez and Pam Benson, CNN
November 17, 2012 -- Updated 1558 GMT (2358 HKT)
  • NEW: Report says Iran has completed underground enrichment facility
  • U.N. agency says Iran still hasn't allowed it access to Parchin military site
  • Director says there's still no clarity on nuclear program's possible military aspects
  • Iranian officials and U.N. watchdog agency will meet on December 13 in Tehran

(CNN) -- Iran has made a significant advancement in its nuclear program with the completion of its underground uranium enrichment facility near the holy city of Qom, according to a report released Friday by a United Nations watchdog group.

The International Atomic Energy Agency report stated Iran has now installed all of the nearly 2,800 centrifuges it will use to enrich uranium at the Fordow plant, but not all the centrifuges are operational.

The IAEA also says Iran has increased its stockpile of both 5% and 20% enriched uranium, which can more readily be converted to a weapons grade level. Iran maintains its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but the United States, Israel and other nations contend Iran seeks to build nuclear weapons.

The Fordow facility was built into the side of a mountain, making it less vulnerable to attack. Israel has made it clear that completion of the plant could make it difficult to stop Iran if it decides to go ahead and build nuclear explosives.

Iran still not cooperating with nuclear inspectors

In August, the agency reported that Iran had stepped up its production of high-grade enriched uranium and had relandscaped one of its military bases in an apparent effort to hamper a U.N. inquiry into its nuclear program.

Friday's report said Iran still hasn't allowed the agency access to the military site, called Parchin. The agency has been seeking access since January.

The new report repeated the conclusion reached in August that "extensive activities" at the Parchin site are certain to have "seriously undermined" the agency's verification process.

Those activities include "significant ground scraping and landscaping" with new dirt roads, the August report said.

Many Western diplomats and nuclear experts believe the Parchin site has been secretly used to test high-explosive nuclear triggers, an essential step toward achieving a weapons capability. Iran denies that Parchin has any role in its nuclear program.

"The agency reiterates its request that Iran, without further delay, provide both access to that location and substantive answers to the agency's detailed questions regarding the Parchin site," Friday's report said.

"Given the nature and extent of credible information available, the agency continues to consider it essential for Iran to engage with the agency without further delay on the substance of the agency's concerns," the report said.

The IAEA once again stated that Iran is not cooperating sufficiently with the agency for it to conclude that the country is conducting "peaceful activities."

The agency said that despite its effort to step up talks with Iran, the nation has offered no "concrete results."

The agency's director general is, in turn, "unable to report any progress on clarifying issues relating to possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear programme," the report said.

IAEA and Iranian officials have scheduled a December 13 meeting in Tehran to address the ongoing issues in the country's nuclear program, the report said.

Putting a price on war with Iran

CNN's Matthew Chance, Ashley Fantz and Tim Lister contributed to this report.

Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.