IAEA Urged to Clarify ‘Covert’ Saudi Nuclear Program

IAEA Urged to Clarify ‘Covert’ Saudi Nuclear Program
IAEA Urged to Clarify ‘Covert’ Saudi Nuclear Program

Iran’s permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna, Austria, has called on the International Atomic Energy Agency to clarify Saudi Arabia’s “covert” nuclear activities.
"Despite the fact that Saudi Arabia is a member of the [nuclear] Non-Proliferation Treaty and has a comprehensive bilateral safeguards agreement with the agency, it has unfortunately refused to abide by its commitments to the agency’s inspections despite repetitive calls,” Kazem Gharibabadi also said on Saturday, Tasnim News Agency reported. 
He called on the UN nuclear watchdog to carry out a probe and submit a full report on the status of nuclear activities in the Arab country.
Gharibabadi raised alarm about Riyadh’s nuclear ambitions and said the international community will not accept Saudi "deviation" from a peaceful nuclear program and would confront it.
The comments came after American intelligence agencies reportedly said they had spotted an undeclared nuclear site near the Saudi capital Riyadh, scrutinizing attempts by the kingdom to process uranium and move toward the development of atomic bombs.
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that the agencies had in recent weeks circulated a classified analysis about Saudi attempts to build up its ability to produce nuclear fuel that could potentially lead to the development of nuclear weapons.
The study shows “a newly completed structure near a solar-panel production area near Riyadh, the Saudi capital, that some government analysts and outside experts suspect could be one of a number of undeclared nuclear sites”, the report said.
The site is situated in a secluded desert area not too far from the Saudi town of al-Uyaynah, 30 kilometers northwest of Riyadh, and its Solar Village.
A day earlier, an article by the Wall Street Journal said western officials were concerned about a desert site in northwestern Saudi Arabia just south of the town of al-Ula.
It was part of a program with the Chinese to extract uranium yellowcake from uranium ore, according to the article.
Frank Pabian, a former satellite image analyst at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, said the desert site appears to be a small mill for turning uranium ore into yellowcake as it has a checkpoint, high security fences, a large building about 150 feet on a side and ponds for the collection of uranium waste.

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