Tehran: Iran is to send an "analytical"
response to a report suggesting it was pursuing nuclear
weapons, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said on Wednesday, a day
before the UN watchdog meets on the issue.
"We have decided to draft and send an analytical letter
with logical and rational responses to International Atomic
Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano's recent report," the Iranian
state television website quoted Salehi as saying.
Salehi said the letter would be distributed to countries
and international organisations.
His announcement came before a two-day meeting of the
IAEA's 35-member starting tomorrow to consider the November 8
report which strongly suggested Iran was researching nuclear
warheads, although it stopped short of saying so explicitly.
The United States and its allies are keen for the board
to issue a resolution condemning Iran or referring it to the
UN Security Council, according to a European diplomat in
Vienna, where the IAEA is headquartered.
But Russia and China are seen as reluctant to go along,
with Moscow criticising the report and likening it to the
false intelligence presented by the United States in the
lead-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Israeli officials have already raised the spectre of
military action against Iran's nuclear sites, based on the
Tehran has categorically denied it is seeking atomic
weapons and dismissed the IAEA report as based on "false"
information from Western intelligence services.
Salehi, who said Iran had already responded to the points
raised in the report in a 117-page letter, called the IAEA
report "unfair" and accused Amano of making a "hasty" move
that damaged the watchdog's reputation.
However Salehi also downplayed recent comments by
parliament speaker, Ali Larijani, that Iran could review its
cooperation with the IAEA over the report.
"The West wants to drive us into a hasty reaction and
would not mind being able to say 'Iran has left the NPT (the
nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty supervised by the IAEA)," he
Salehi said his country remained in "contact with the
agency so that the situation does not worsen."
The foreign minister was also quoted as saying that Iran's
nuclear activities "are making powerful progress."
Iran is subject to four sets of UN sanctions and
additional unilateral Western sanctions over its uranium
enrichment programme, which it refuses to suspend.
First Published: Wednesday, November 16, 2011, 23:49