Associated Press – May 25, 2011
Iran’s nuclear chief on Wednesday rejected the latest report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency alleging that Iran may be working on a nuclear weapons program, saying it was based on “fabricated documents.”
Fereidoun Abbasi claimed the report on Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons’ activities was based on wrongful information provided by a “few arrogant countries” — a phrase authorities in Iran often use to refer to the United States and its allies.
The latest questions on Iran were included in restricted report of the International Atomic Energy Agency issued Tuesday for the June 6-10 meeting of the 35-nation IAEA board.
A senior official familiar with the report said the most recent intelligence suggested that Iran worked on components of a weapons program as late as 2010. But he told The Associated Press that only “bits and pieces” of Iran’s nuclear work seems related to weapons since 2004. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the information is privileged.
“These fabricated documents are provided by few arrogant countries so that international organizations, including the IAEA, make wrong decisions based on that. Of course, they have never been able to prove their allegations,” state TV quoted Abbasi as saying after a Cabinet meeting.
Iran has in the past dismissed investigations by the IAEA into the so-called “Green Salt Project,” which the U.S. alleged was an Iranian plan studying diverse components of a nuclear weapons program, including uranium enrichment and high explosives testing.
But Washington has refused to hand over the original documents to the IAEA and only presented a copy to the agency to support it claims. Iran has argued that U.S. reluctance to hand over the alleged original documents reinforces their allegations that they are forged.
Iran is already under sets of U.N. sanctions for its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, a technology that can be used to enrich uranium or produce materials for a warhead. Iran insists it only seeks peaceful reactors for energy and research.
Abbasi said neither pressures nor “fabrications” will force Iran to halt its nuclear program.
“You can’t stop the progress of a country through fabricating documents,” TV quoted him as saying.
In his report, IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said he wrote to Abbasi on May 6, demanding that Iran engage with the agency on the issue.
“The Agency remains concerned about the possible existence in Iran of past or current undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile,” the report said.