The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency is to visit North Korea after receiving an invation to inspect the country’s nuclear complex in Yongbyon. Mohamed ElBaradei said the trip would be to discuss implementation of a deal in which the weapons grade complex would be dismantled in return for food and fuel aid: “I believe this is very much a step in the right direction toward implementation of the de-nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.”
But UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was more pessimistic on the Iranian nuclear dossier after receiving confirmation Tehran was defying Security Council resolutions. “I’m very much concerned again that the Iranian authorities have not been able to meet and comply fully with the Security Council resolution.”
The IAEA said Iran’s uranium enrichment programme was now becoming industrial in scale. The UN will meet next week to discuss reinforcing sanctions imposed last December. Additional sanctions might include travel bans on senior Iranian officials and strengthened trade restrictions, but harsher measures are likely to be blocked by the likes of Russia, China and some EU members.