Iran threatens IAEA ahead of inspection of new site
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Last Updated: Thursday, November 19, 2009, 10:47
  
Vienna: An Iranian diplomat threatened on Wednesday to withhold cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency's probe of a new nuclear site if the IAEA pushes too hard for information, participants at an agency meeting in Vienna said.

Iran's Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh reacted angrily to the watchdog's questions about the origin and purpose of the Fordu enrichment plant, the sources said, one day before the IAEA's second inspection of this site which Iran revealed in September.

The exchange took place at an IAEA briefing for diplomats on the organisation's latest Iran report that was issued Monday.

"Soltanieh said: It's not your job to figure out our intentions," one diplomat who attended said. Another official who participated confirmed this account.

Officials close to the IAEA have pointed out that the Fordu plant is not large enough to supply fuel for nuclear power reactors, while Western officials have said it is the right size for making material for one nuclear bomb per year.

The IAEA has asked to meet officials responsible for the early planning phase of the Fordu site, which is being built north of the city of Qom. But Soltanieh indicated Iran might scale down cooperation with the IAEA if the inspectors push too hard, the two participants at the meeting said.

The Ambassador also said Iran was facing a "political situation inside and outside", one participant recounted, adding that Soltanieh likely meant that it was difficult for him to get support for the IAEA's probe among leaders in Tehran.

IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said in his latest report that the belated declaration of the Fordu plant "gives rise to questions about whether there were any other nuclear facilities in Iran which had not been declared to the Agency".

IANS


First Published: Thursday, November 19, 2009, 10:47


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