WASHINGTON – The United States expects the international nuclear inspection agency to support its contention that Iran has an advanced program to build a nuclear weapon, a senior State Department (search) official said Wednesday.
The U.S. official said the report will dispute Iran's statements that its nuclear programs are entirely to ficial said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. Iran is pursuing techniques to create weapons-grade uranium and plutonium at several sites inside the country.
The official also said the Bush administration rejects an offer by Iran to permit additional international monitoring of its nuclear development in exchange for the right to import advanced technology.
The United States wants Iran to submit to further inspections without conditions, the official said. And even if it does, the U.S. will oppose Iran's acquisition of advanced technology until it answers questions about its nuclear program, the official said.
On Tuesday, Iran's nuclear weapons chief, Gholamreza Aghazadeh, said his country was willing to sign on to additional inspections under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty if it gained access to technology that so far has been withheld.
The Bush administration is pressuring the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency to declare Iran in violation of the nonproliferation treaty. Iran denies being in violation.
Aghazadeh said, "We want the [IAEA] to end discrimination against us and allow all member states equal access to nuclear technology."
The senior U.S. official said the administration had not determined whether Iran could develop nuclear weapons without importing advanced technology. But he said the technology could make the program more efficient.
The official said he did not expect the IAEA to recommend action soon against Iran by the U.N. Security Council.
In the meantime, Undersecretary of State John Bolton headed Wednesday for Madrid for a meeting with officials from about a dozen countries on how to slow the spread of dangerous weapons technology.
Intercepting shipments at sea is one proposal under consideration.