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IAEA says Iran may have nuclear payload -

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SHANE MCLEOD: For the first time the United Nations nuclear watchdog says Iran may be developing a
nuclear payload for a missile.

The International Atomic Energy Agency's comments come as the US Vice President Joe Biden argues
that Iran should face real consequences for its nuclear activities.

And there's news that Iran has the fastest growing scientific research sector in the world.

A survey of scientific literature has found Iran's scientific output is growing 15 times faster
than the world average. And perhaps unsurprisingly the growth spurt is largely directed towards
nuclear technology.

Sarah Dingle reports.

SARAH DINGLE: Hot on the heels of Hillary Clinton's warnings to Iran the US Vice President Joe
Biden says Iran has a case to answer.

JOE BIDEN: Now we're working with our international partners to ensure that Iran faces real
consequences for failing to meet its obligations.

SARAH DINGLE: The United Nations nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, has agreed for the first time that Joe
Biden's concerns may be justified.

In a new unusually blunt report the IAEA says it's possible that Iran is or has been developing a
nuclear payload for a missile.

It says there's information pointing to work on nuclear triggers and generating neutrons which are
necessary for a bomb core and Iran has to provide an explanation.

Last week Iran produced its first tiny batch of 20 per cent enriched uranium without giving
inspectors the required notice beforehand.

Iran says it needs the uranium for fuel rods for a nuclear medicine reactor.

The assertion has fed tensions already at fever pitch over whether Iran is pursuing weapons-based
or civilian-based nuclear technology.

Now a Canadian analysis team says whatever the aim the resources poured into Iranian scientific
research are extraordinary.

ERIC ARCHAMBAULT: It's about 15 times faster than the rate of growth that we're observing at the
world level.

SARAH DINGLE: Eric Archambault is the president of Science-Metrix which examined scientific output
country by country around the world.

They compared the numbers of peer reviewed scientific papers produced by each nation for the last
30 years and Mr Archambault says the jump in Iranian scientific knowledge was incredible.

ERIC ARCHAMBAULT: What is interesting is that it comes from a number of fields of science where we
know that many of them are linked to nuclear technology.

SARAH DINGLE: He says the growth in research has gone on steadily since 1990.

ERIC ARCHAMBAULT: There are a lot of papers in organic chemistry, in nuclear science, in particle
physics, fields that are linked with nuclear engineering but also all fields of chemistry grew
really rapidly.

It's certainly not a small effort that we're seeing. It has the pattern of a national mobilisation.

SARAH DINGLE: Mr Archambault says this was a surprising result from what was a global study and he
can't say whether this national mobilisation was directed towards weaponry or civil purposes.

Iran's Ambassador to the IAEA says his country's nuclear program is peaceful and accusations by the
West are counterproductive.

ALI ASGHAR SOLTANIEH: If they want to force other peace loving countries and developing countries
not to go for peaceful uses of nuclear energy they've failed. In fact the attraction of nuclear
energy for various applications, medicine, agriculture, producing electricity is every day
increasing.

SARAH DINGLE: Eric Archambault says more research is needed and the sheer amount of Iran's
scientific output raises more questions than it answers.

SHANE MCLEOD: Sarah Dingle reporting.