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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Wants Answers from Iran

VIENNA -- The United States urged Iran on Monday to cooperate with an investigation into past suspicious nuclear activities but said even full compliance would not be enough to ease international concerns over Tehran's possession of bomb-making technology.

The comments by Gregory Schulte, chief U.S. delegate to the International Atomic Energy Agency, came as the IAEA's 35-nation board convened on the first day of a session that will focus on Iran's nuclear dossier.

Before the meeting, diplomats said agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei's approach on Iran was leading to U.S. concerns that he has overstepped his authority -- a view that Schulte appeared at pains to dispel by praising ElBaradei's attempts to pry answers out of Tehran.

"The United States ... strongly supports the IAEA's running effort to overcome Iran's refusal to cooperate fully, and of course we will welcome any progress about resolving troubling questions about Iran's past nuclear activities," Schulte told reporters.

But even if Iran does give thorough answers to IAEA questions on former programs that could be linked to weapons, "cooperation that gives Iran the wherewithal to build nuclear weapons is not enough," Schulte said.

Those comments were an allusion to U.S. concerns that Iran could exploit good will generated by signs it is cooperating on some issues to weaken concerns about its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment.