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'No concrete results' in nuclear efforts with Iran: Amano
by Staff Writers
United Nations (AFP) Nov 5, 2012


Israel's Netanyahu ordered Iran strike in 2010: TV
Jerusalem (AFP) Nov 04, 2012 - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak in 2010 ordered the army to prepare an attack against Iranian nuclear installations, though the order was later rescinded, Israeli television said Sunday.

According to private television Channel 2, the order was not implemented due to opposition from the army chief at the time, General Gabi Ashkenazi, and from then Mossad chief Meir Dagan.

At a meeting of top ministers, Netanyahu decided to order the elevation of the army's preparedness level to "P plus", a code meaning the armed forces must be ready to take action.

But Dagan opposed the move, Channel 2 reported, noting that a decision to launch a war against Iran could be taken only by the security cabinet comprising around 15 ministers.

Ashkenazi also feared that raising the alert level risked "creating new facts on the ground".

Barak told Channel 2 that Ashkenazi had told Netanyahu the Israeli army was not ready and did not have the operational means to bring an attack against Iran.

According to Barak, the decision to raise the level of alert "did not necessarily mean war". In any case, the plan to attack was eventually dropped.

The website of the daily Haaretz newspaper said that after leaving office, Ashkenazi told close associates that the army was ready for an attack, but that he was convinced such an option would be a strategic error.

Dagan, after having quit Mossad, publicly called the idea "stupid".

Israel and Western nations fear Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon that could be used against Israel and other states. Tehran says its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes.

Experts estimate that Israel, which has never acknowledged a nuclear arsenal, has at least 200 atomic warheads.

Iran is resisting efforts to find out whether it is hiding nuclear material, the head of the UN atomic watchdog said Monday, as the Islamic state and North Korea slammed the agency's work.

Intense efforts to persuade Iran to give more nuclear information have produced "no concrete results," International Atomic Energy Agency director general Yukiya Amano told the UN General Assembly.

Amano also called on North Korea to "cooperate promptly and fully" with the agency's efforts to investigate its uranium enrichment activities.

Iran's nuclear drive is a growing international concern as Israel has given mounting indications that it is ready to stage a military strike. US President Barack Obama has said he will not let Iran get a nuclear bomb.

The IAEA chief said his experts were still trying to check "credible information" that Iran has made moves to develop a nuclear bomb.

"I requested Iran to clarify these issues," Amano said in the report which was released as a statement, as the UN official was unable to get to New York because of the major storm that hit the city.

"Dialogue has been intensified between the IAEA and Iran this year. However, no concrete results have been achieved so far."

The UN Security Council has passed four rounds of nuclear sanctions against Iran, and the IAEA's board of governors passed a resolution in September again calling on Iran to prove its program has no military dimension.

"We will continue negotiations with Iran on a structured approach. I hope we can reach agreement without further delay," Amano said.

Iran's UN ambassador Mohammad Khazaee slammed the information used to justify the allegations of possible military nuclear work.

He told the assembly the IAEA used "some forged reports and view graphs which are not credible and that is why the agency is not allowed to make it available to Iran."

Khazaee added that most of the information was provided by Israel and the United States so "one may easily conclude that such information is as credible as the childish cartoon that was drawn here in this hall on September this year by the notorious Zionist regime's prime minister."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used a cartoon-like diagram of a bomb when he addressed the UN General Assembly to urge the international to set a "red line" over which Iran should not be allowed to cross toward getting a nuclear bomb.

Amano also said he remains "deeply concerned" about North Korea, which has staged two nuclear tests in the past six years.

"Its statements about uranium enrichment activities and the construction of a light water reactor are deeply troubling," Amano said.

IAEA experts were expelled from North Korea in April 2009 and the isolated country also faces United Nations sanctions.

North Korea's deputy UN ambassador Ri Tong-Il said the IAEA had no role to play in easing nuclear tensions in East Asia because it has "blindly" sided with the United States against the North.

"The situation on the Korean peninsula is on the brink of explosion and nobody knows when the war will break out" because of the United States and South Korea, Ri added.

He blamed the United States for deadlock in six-nation talks on the North's nuclear program. "The United States did not hesitate to escalate, aggravate, increase its threats and blackmails with increased hostilities," he told the assembly.

He called the talks between China, Russia, South and North Korea, Japan and the United States "almost a dead body." The six nations have held no talks since December 2008.

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