UN Nuclear Watchdog Says 'Significant Progress' in Iran Probe, Parchin Samples Taken
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said Monday that "significant progress" has been made in the U.N.'s long-running probe into allegations Iran worked to develop nuclear weapons.
Yukiya Amano said he reported to the IAEA's board about his trip to Iran that included visiting the Parchin military site that has been a key focus of the investigation.
Amano said environmental samples were taken at Parchin before his visit in a process that included Iranian representatives "swiping samples." He specified that in some circumstances the IAEA permits countries to participate in verification activities in ways that do not compromise the agency's work.
"Authentication by the agency of the samples was achieved through use of an established verification process," Amano told reporters.
Earlier Monday, Iran's state-run IRNA news agency quoted a spokesman for the country's nuclear agency saying samples were taken without IAEA inspectors present.
For years, Iran denied access to IAEA personnel, insisting Parchin was strictly military in nature and would not be opened up to outsiders. Iranian officials have blamed the U.S. and Israel for the focus on Parchin, saying those countries provided faulty intelligence alleging research toward building nuclear weapons. Iran has long insisted its nuclear program is peaceful.
Shares of VW Drop 20% After Intentional False Emission Data
Shares in German automaker Volkswagen plunged more than 13 percent Monday just minutes after the Frankfurt exchange opened following news that many of its diesel cars in the United States had software that intentionally falsified emissions data.
The trend continued into mid-morning trading, which showed VW down more then 20 percent.
The huge drop comes one day after Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn apologized for breaking the trust of VW's customers, saying the company will fully cooperate with an external investigation the automaker has ordered.
Sales of some Volkswagen diesel cars have been halted in the U.S.
On Friday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered Volkswagen to recall nearly 500,000 vehicles for intentionally violating clean air laws.
The EPA said VW has installed so-called "defeat device" software in its diesel-powered cars that only turn on its pollution emissions controls when the car is undergoing mandatory testing, meaning the controls are completely off during everyday driving.