Iran acknowledges espionage at nuclear facilities

Last Updated: Saturday, October 9, 2010 - 21:12

Tehran: Iran revealed today that some
personnel at the country`s nuclear facilities were lured by
promises of better pay to pass secrets to the West, but that
increased security and worker privileges have put a stop to
the spying.

The stunning acknowledgement by Vice President Ali
Akbar Salehi provides the clearest government confirmation
that Iran has been fighting espionage at its nuclear
facilities.

The United States and its allies have vigorously
sought to slow Iran`s nuclear advances through UN and other
sanctions out of suspicion that Tehran intends to use a civil
program as cover for developing weapons.

Iran denies any such aim and says it only wants
to generate nuclear power.

Iran`s semiofficial Fars news agency quoted Salehi as
saying that some nuclear personnel had access to information
about Iran`s plans for "foreign purchases and commercial
affairs." The report did not elaborate on the precise nature
of the information or the timeframe over which the spying took
place.

"Now, these routes have been blocked. The possibility
of information leaking is almost impossible now," Salehi was
quoted as saying.

"Our colleagues were awakened. ... The personnel and
managers have all reached the conclusion that this is a
national issue and that we should ... resolve our problems
among ourselves."

Salehi said access to information has been restricted
within nuclear facilities as part of the increased security
measures.

"In the past, personnel had easy access to information
but it is not the case anymore now," Fars quoted him as
saying.

Salehi said the security department at the Atomic
Energy Organisation of Iran has also published booklets for
its personnel alerting them to the various techniques the West
uses to try to lure them into espionage.

The booklets "spell out precautionary measures to
protect (information) and the life of scientists," he was
quoted as saying.

"The issue of spies existed in the past but now we see
that it is fading day by day."

PTI



First Published: Saturday, October 9, 2010 - 21:12

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