The United Nations nuclear agency says Iran must provide further
information about its nuclear plant near the city of Qom, which U.N.
inspectors visited last month after Iran revealed the site's existence.
An International Atomic Energy Agency report obtained by several media
outlets Monday says evidence indicates construction on the plant began
Iran disputes this, saying construction did not begin until five years
later. The IAEA says, regardless, Iran's failure to announce the site
until this September is inconsistent with Tehran's international
The IAEA says the facility, known as the Fordow plant, will be able to
house about 3,000 uranium-enriching centrifuges. Enriched uranium
produces fuel that can be used for civilian purposes, or, in highly
enriched form, for nuclear weapons.
Iran says its nuclear program is aimed at generating electricity, not weapons.
Earlier Monday, Russia's energy minister said a nuclear power plant
Moscow is building in Iran will not start operating by year's end, as
Sergei Shmatko told reporters in Moscow Monday that he expects "serious
progress" to be achieved on what is to be Iran's first nuclear power
plant. But he said it will not start up this year.
The full launch of the facility at Bushehr, in southern Iran, has been
frequently delayed. Russian and Iranian engineers began testing it in
February, and officials from both sides had said it would be
operational in 2009.
The Bushehr plant is meant to run on enriched uranium imported from Russia, rather than on fuel produced in Iran.
Monday's announcement of a delay comes one day after Russian President
Dmitri Medvedev said Moscow was not completely happy with the pace of
dialogue over Iran's nuclear program.
Both he and U.S. President Barack Obama said Sunday that Iran is
running out of time to respond to a U.N.-backed proposal to ship its
low-enriched uranium abroad to Russia for further processing.
The U.N. Security Council has already imposed three sets of sanctions on Iran for its refusal to stop its enrichment activities.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Monday that Western
pressures about Iran's nuclear program will only make the country "more