Iran said on Wednesday it gave new details to the United Nations about two sites near Tehran that inspectors say bore traces of man-made uranium, The Associated Press reported.
Speaking after a Cabinet meeting, Mohammad Eslami, the head of Iran’s civilian nuclear program, said Iran had sent “detailed answers” to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN’s nuclear watchdog.
“If those answers are not accepted and there are any ambiguities or doubts, as we have always said, we will clarify and revise the documents,” Eslami said in comments carried by state television.
“We are now in that phase now, and we have given the IAEA more evidence and documents and will give more so that it can move past this issue,” he added.
Eslami did not name the sites, though the IAEA has identified them in the past as Turquzabad and Varamin, just outside of Tehran.
At Varamin, the IAEA in a March report said that inspectors believe Iran used the site from 1999 until 2003 as a pilot project to process uranium ore and convert it into a gas form, which then can be enriched through spinning in a centrifuge. The IAEA said buildings at the site had been demolished in 2004.
Turquzabad was identified by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his address before the UN General Assembly in 2018 as a "secret atomic warehouse."
The IAEA said in a report this past May it no longer had questions about a third questioned site called Marivan near Abadeh in southern Iran.
The IAEA’s probes of nuclear activities in Iran have been one of the points of contention between Iran and the US in their talks on a return to the 2015 nuclear deal, from which then-US President Donald Trump withdrew in 2018.
The Biden administration sought to return to the deal and held indirect talks with Iran on a return to compliance.
While the talks were stalled in September after the sides failed to reach an agreement on the IAEA probes, recent reports indicated that the US and Iran held indirect talks on a new agreement.
A US official then said that the United States and Iran are not discussing an interim nuclear deal, and that Washington had merely conveyed to Tehran what steps might trigger a crisis and also those that may create a better climate between the long-time antagonists.
Earlier this week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that US officials are currently not talking about a nuclear agreement with their counterparts in Tehran.
“An agreement was on the table. Iran either couldn’t or wouldn’t say yes. We’re not about to take any deal. Of course, it has to meet our security objectives. It has to meet our interests,” Blinken told CNN.
He noted that the Biden administration “made a very good faith effort to get back into compliance with them. They couldn’t or wouldn’t do it. We’re now in a place where we’re not talking about a nuclear agreement.”
“Maybe we’ll have an environment where we can get back into a conversation about their nuclear program. Right now, we’re not in it,” he stated.