The inspectors’ assertion that perhaps Tehran has been purifying uranium without informing the UN nuclear watchdog will further fuel the dispute over Iran’s suspected nuclear aspirations.

Speaking on grounds of anonymity, the UN inspectors said initial analysis showed enrichment levels possibly consistent with an attempt to make weapons-grade material and high enough to cause concern at the International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA).

Already dubbed as part of the “axis of evil” by the United States, the inspectors’ claim could deepen Washington’s suspicion that Iran’s nuclear ambitions go beyond its stated aim of using nuclear energy only to generate electricity.

The UN diplomats however said the mere presence of enriched uranium in the samples was not solid proof of Iran having done the enrichment. Contamination was another possibility, though how it had arisen would have to be explained to the IAEA.

IAEA has declined to confirm or deny the inspectors’ claim, though it confirmed its inspectors have been taking samples in Iran.


''At this point, we are still in the middle of a complex inspection process in Iran, in which we are investigating a number of unresolved issues''

IAEA spokeswoman

“The results of environmental sample analyses are being reviewed at the agency and we expect to take more samples over the next few weeks,” said Melissa Fleming, an IAEA spokeswoman.

“At this point, we are still in the middle of a complex inspection process in Iran, in which we are investigating a number of unresolved issues,” she added.

Despite persistent accusations from Washington, Iran insists it has no intentions of building nuclear weapons.