Iran slams Israeli lobbying against nuclear program
TEHRAN (AFP) Nov 25, 2003
Iran on Tuesday slammed Israel's campaign to convince the world that the Islamic republic is intent on acquiring a nuclear weapon.

"The falsification of the facts and negative propaganda about Iran's civilian nuclear activities are totally motivated by the hostility of the Zionist regime," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Assefi told the student news agency ISNA.

"The Zionist regime is seeking, via political tactics and false statements, to disturb the atmosphere of the board of governors' meeting," he said, referring to a session Wednesday of the 35-member board of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Iran's nuclear activities.

The UN nuclear watchdog is expected to approve a compromise proposal condemning Iran's nuclear program but not take the issue to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.

The draft resolution balances a US call to condemn Iran for almost two decades of covert nuclear activities with Britain, France and Germany's demand that Iran be rewarded for cooperating with the watchdog since October.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Sunday that he was personally supervising efforts to prevent arch-enemy Iran from acquiring a nuclear arsenal.

The hardline premier has also reportedly instructed his foreign ministry to lobby other countries to act to stop Iran's nuclear activities.

Israel's overseas intelligence service, the Mossad, which is directly answerably to Sharon, has been put in charge of "all other aspects" of efforts to foil the Islamic republic's alleged covert nuclear programme.

Israel and the United States accuse Tehran of trying to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Iran fiercely denies.

Earlier this month, Mossad chief Meir Dagan told MPs that Iran's nuclear programme posed the biggest threat to Israel's existence since the country was created in 1948.