Tehran: A crucial IAEA report on Iran`s
nuclear programme due in the next few days -- raised as a
possible trigger for war by Israel -- is based on
"counterfeit" claims, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar
Salehi said in comments published on Sunday.
The update, expected to be released to International
Atomic Energy Agency members on Tuesday or Wednesday, is
believed to allege that Iran did theoretical modelling on
nuclear warheads and is developing missiles to carry them,
according to diplomats at the UN nuclear watchdog.
"I believe that these documents lack authenticity. But
if they insist, they should go ahead and publish. Better to
face danger once than be always in danger," several Iranian
dailies quoted Salehi as saying.
His comments were made yesterday to media in Tehran
during a visit by Burundian Foreign Minister Augustin Nsanze.
"We have said repeatedly that their documents are
baseless. For example one can counterfeit money, but it
remains counterfeit. These documents are like that," Salehi
He added: "Iran`s nuclear issue (for the IAEA) is not
a technical or a legal issue but entirely a political one. If
(the IAEA) dealt with it purely as a technical or legal issue,
then it would say everything about the issue was transparent."
Israel is seen as poised to seize on the report as
justification for air strikes against Iran`s nuclear
facilities, according to a storm of Israeli media speculation
in the past few days.
Israeli President Shimon Peres warned yesterday that
an attack on Iran was "more and more likely" because of
intelligence service fears that "Iran is ready to obtain the
Israel has already tested what its media described as
a "ballistic missile" and held a major civil defence drill in
the past few days -- although it insisted that neither move
was linked to the reports of imminent war.
The IAEA update does not contain an explicit
allegation that Iran`s nuclear programme -- which Tehran
maintains is exclusively for peaceful, civilian purposes -- is
being used for military ends.
But one Western diplomat said in Vienna that "it
will be an extensive body of evidence that will be very hard
for Iran to refute as forgery, as they have done in the past."