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. Iran's Larijani warns IAEA against playing for time
TEHRAN, June 7 (AFP) Jun 07, 2008
Iran's powerful parliament speaker Ali Larijani warned the UN nuclear watchdog on Saturday against playing for time in a dispute over Iran's controversial atomic programme.

Iran came under heavy fire at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency this week for failing to come clean on alleged nuclear weapons work.

"The agency has submitted an ambiguous report. They might be pursuing a 'One Thousand and One Nights' diplomacy that they are continually playing for time," the state IRNA news agency quoted Larijani as saying.

The former nuclear chief was alluding to a collection of folk tales, also known as the "Arabian Nights," in which the storyteller Scheherazade, doomed to be executed, begins a new story each night but delays the ending till the following night as a way of staying alive.

In his latest report on Iran, IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei accused the Islamic republic of witholding key information on alleged nuclear weapons studies.

Iran has dismissed the allegations as "baseless", insisting it has provided comprehensive responses.

"We worked with the agency honestly and if they want to complicate the nuclear issue, they will make themselves some problems," Larijani warned. "We are not interested in prolonging the issue."

The IAEA report prompted Larijani to warn last Wednesday that Iran might review its relations with the UN watchdog, which has been probing Iran's nuclear programme for years.

But President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took a milder position on Monday, saying that Iran had no immediate plans to revise cooperation with the IAEA.

The United States and its European allies fear Iran wants to use the sensitive process of uranium enrichment to make an atomic weapon. Tehran insists its drive is entirely peaceful.

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