IAEA Chief Says Work in N. Korea Could Resume Quickly

VIENNA (AP) -
Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, Yukiya Amano of Japan, waits for the start of the IAEA board of governors meeting at the International Center in Vienna, Austria, Monday. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

The head of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog says the agency could resume work in North Korea “within weeks” to verify any possible agreement between Washington and Pyongyang.

Plans are advancing for a June 12 nuclear weapons summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano said Monday that the agency would be ready “promptly” to undertake any activities requested of it.

Amano told reporters in Vienna, where the agency is based: “We will be able to resume our verification activities at short notice, within weeks, not months, once [governing] board authorization is given.”

He said “it is very clear that if there is anybody, any organization, that can do the verification, it is only us, the IAEA.”

Earlier, Amano renewed calls for Iran to provide “timely and proactive cooperation” in inspections that are part of the deal meant to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons.

Last month, in its first report since the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal that Israel also opposes, the International Atomic Energy Agency said that Iran continues to stay below the maximum level to which it is allowed to enrich uranium and appears to be fulfilling other obligations. But it said Iran is slow when it comes to “complementary access” inspections.

Amano told the IAEA’s board of governors that “timely and proactive cooperation by Iran in providing such access would facilitate implementation … and enhance confidence.”

At a news conference later Monday, Amano said that his statement was “not an expression of concerns or complaints, but rather an encouragement to Iran.”