By Jeremy Herb - 03/07/12 09:09 PM EST
A report has surfaced that Iran could be developing a nuclear weapon at a hidden site, just a day after the United States and its allies agreed to resume talks with Iran over its nuclear program.
Satellite images of an Iranian nuclear facility show trucks that might have been trying to clean the site of radioactive traces possibly left over from tests of a nuclear-weapon trigger, The Associated Press reported Wednesday, citing unnamed diplomats in Vienna.
The diplomats, who are nuclear weapons experts, said that crews could be seeking to erase evidence of testing a small neutron device that’s used for a nuclear explosion.
But there remains skepticism that Iran is serious about coming to the negotiating table. The United States and other Western allies say Iran is seeking nuclear weapons, while Iran says its program is for peaceful purposes only.
"Iran is not telling us everything. That is my impression,” Yukiya Amano, the director general of the IAEA, told CNN. “We are asking Iran to engage with us proactively, and Iran has a case to answer.”
A bipartisan group of a dozen senators said Wednesday it remains “extremely concerned that the Iranian government will seek to buy time or otherwise dilute the focus of our diplomacy." The senators expressed their concerns in a letter to President Obama last month, after Iran said it welcomed resuming nuclear talks.
Talks between Iran and the “P5+1” group — the five permanent United Nations Security Council nations and Germany — have been on hiatus since breaking down last year. Date and location are still being determined for their resumption.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday — before the report of the Vienna diplomats was made public — that the Obama administration will demand that Iran provide verifiable assurances that it’s not pursuing a nuclear weapon.
U.S. intelligence officials have said they do not believe Iran has yet made the decision to build a nuclear weapon.
“We are very clear-eyed about the way that Iran has approached negotiations in the past, and we will not relent in our efforts through sanctions and other measures to isolate and pressure Iran,” Carney told reporters. “Actions are what matter here, and we will judge Iran by its actions.”