The United States has issued a guarded response to the International Atomic Energy Agency's report on nuclear weapons capability development by Iran, declining to comment specifically on the possibility of more sanctions or military action against the Ahmadinejad administration.
Responding to queries at a media briefing State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said that the U.S. would “study” the report between now at November 18, when a scheduled meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors will occur. “Iran will be an agenda item at that meeting,” she added.
When asked whether the IAEA's report might lack credibility given past assertions that the organisation made about the presence of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, Ms. Nuland said, “The IAEA is one of the most credible, thorough, important UN organizations out there.”
Noting that the report was attributed to the Director General of the IAEA, she said, “It is based on inputs from the IAEA's own cadre of inspectors and analysts as well as inputs from some ten or fifteen member states. So we would, obviously, reject that assertion.”
The White House similarly did not outline any concrete response to the report at this time, with Spokesperson Jay Carney only noting the significance of this particular report that IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano signalled a week ago. Mr. Amano had indicated that the latest report” would include aspects that were not covered in the September report, for example... [such as include more information about the military aspect of [Iran's nuclear] programme.”
He however did suggest that the Obama administration would persist with its dual track approach towards Iran, which entails sanctions as well as negotiations. “We continue to focus on a diplomatic channel,” Mr. Carney said at a briefing following the report's release. He added that consensus at the international level among the U.S.' allies has made it possible to “continue to isolate and put pressure on Iran, and to insist that Iran get right with the world and to live up to its international obligations.”
However in an address to Bulletin of Atomic Scientists last week Gottemoeller, Rose Gottemoeller Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance conceded, “We continue to believe, as we have stated before, that Iran has a right to a peaceful nuclear power program...”