Iran says US nuke documents `forged`: Report

Last Updated: Saturday, September 5, 2009 - 10:50

Vienna: Iran accused the US on Friday of using "forged documents" and relying on subterfuge to make its case that Tehran is trying to build a nuclear weapon, according to a confidential letter obtained by a news agency.
The eight-page letter — written by Iran`s chief envoy to the UN nuclear agency in Vienna — denounces Washington`s allegations against the Islamic Republic as "fabricated, baseless and false”. The letter does not specify what documents Iran is alleging were forged.

It also lashes out at Britain and France for "ill will and political motivation" in their dealings on Iran.

Iranian envoy Ali Asghar Soltanieh sent the letter to Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, whose 35-nation board will take a hard new look at Iran`s nuclear program next week.

Iran insists its nuclear activities are peaceful and geared solely toward generating electricity. The US and key allies contend the Islamic Republic is covertly trying to build an atomic bomb.

Tehran has bristled at the agency`s latest report, which accuses Iran of defiantly continuing to enrich uranium and refusing to clear up lingering questions about possible military dimensions to its nuclear program.

In the letter, Soltanieh insists that Iran has demonstrated "the full commitment of my country to its obligations" under an IAEA nuclear safeguards agreement.

But it takes sharp aim at Washington for giving the UN nuclear watchdog unspecified intelligence and other evidence allegedly recovered from a laptop computer that reportedly was smuggled out of Iran.

US intelligence later assessed the information as indicating that Tehran had been working on details of nuclear weapons, including missile trajectories and ideal altitudes for exploding warheads.

The material on the laptop also included videos of what intelligence officials believe were secret nuclear laboratories in Iran.

"By interfering in the work of the IAEA and exerting various political pressures, the government of the United States attempted to spoil the cooperative spirit between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the IAEA," the letter reads.

"The government of the United States has not handed over original documents to the agency since it does not in fact have any authenticated document and all it has are forged documents," Soltanieh said.

"The agency didn`t deliver any original documents to Iran and none of the documents and materials that were shown to Iran have authenticity and all proved to be fabricated, baseless allegations and false attributions to Iran," he added.

"Therefore, this subject must be closed," Soltanieh wrote.

State Department spokesman Ian Kelly declined to comment on Iran`s allegations.

"We are still awaiting a meaningful response to the P5+1 offer from last April, and to our offer of engagement," Kelly said, referring to the group of world powers trying to craft a diplomatic resolution to the standoff. The group includes the five permanent members of the Security Council — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — plus Germany.

"We have provided a path whereby Iran can become a full and respected member of the international community," Kelly said. "It is up to Iran to make a decision as to whether it chooses that path."

Officials at the French Foreign Ministry would not immediately comment. France has been increasingly vocal in criticising Iran`s nuclear program under President Nicolas Sarkozy, who recently said Iranians didn`t "deserve" leaders like theirs. Sarkozy has been in the forefront of the push for new, stronger sanctions.

A spokeswoman for Britain`s Foreign Office denied the allegations in Soltanieh`s letter.

She said Britain had consistently sought a way to "give diplomacy a chance to succeed."

"I would deny any suggestion of ill-will in the strongest possible terms," she said, speaking anonymously in line with department policy. "We would have no hesitation in saying that absolutely the reverse is true."

Bureau Report



First Published: Saturday, September 5, 2009 - 10:50

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