Tehran (AFP) Sept 5, 2009
Iran has charged that Washington provided forged intelligence to the UN nuclear watchdog claiming that Tehran studied how to make atomic bomb, as world powers pressured the Islamic republic to resume talks on its nuclear drive.
State news agency IRNA quoted a senior official on Saturday as saying the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had been given documents by Washington that lacked credibility.
"The government of the United States has not given authentic documents to the agency because it does not actually have any credible documents and all those documents are forged," Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Tehran's envoy to the IAEA said in a letter to the agency's chief Mohamed ElBaradei, IRNA reported.
"Considering that there are no authentic documents on these alleged studies, there is no credible evidence of link between such forged claims and Iran... This issue should be closed."
In Washington a US official said on condition of anonymity: "These accusations are baseless. The IAEA itself accepted the material as credible."
State Department Spokesman Ian Kelly declined comment on the allegation.
"We are still awaiting a meaningful response to the P5+1 offer from last April, and to our offer of engagement," he said.
"We have provided a path whereby Iran can become a full and respected member of the international community. It is up to Iran to make a decision as to whether it chooses that path."
Soltanieh's comments come as Iran is under pressure from world powers led by Washington to resume negotiations over its controversial nuclear programme.
They suspect Iran's atomic drive is aimed at making nuclear weapons. Tehran denies the charge.
The P5+1 -- Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany -- have given a late September deadline for Iran to resume talks, while Tehran has said it will offer its own package of proposals this week.
Some world powers have said Tehran may face fresh sanctions if it fails to hold face-to-face talks before a key UN meeting in late September. The UN Security Council has already slapped three rounds of sanctions on Iran.
A defiant President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Thursday Iran was ready for more sanctions and would not bow to pressure. "No one can impose sanctions on Iran anymore. We welcome sanctions," he said.
Tehran insists its nuclear plans must be dealt with by the IAEA and not by the UN Security Council.
Diplomats from the P5+1 and the European Union met in Frankfurt on Wednesday, urging Iran to accept their offer of direct talks.
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana has spearheaded efforts by the major powers to convince Iran to halt uranium enrichment, the focus of its controversial nuclear drive, in exchange for political and economic incentives.
The Frankfurt meeting followed an IAEA report last week that said Iran has slowed production of enriched uranium -- usable in nuclear power but also in weapons -- and agreed to tighter monitoring of its Natanz enrichment plant.
Washington downplayed the report, saying Iran is still not cooperating fully with UN inspectors.
France's Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said the IAEA should publish annexes of its report because these may provide elements that show if Tehran is building an atomic bomb.
ElBaradei has called the threat from Iran "hyped."
Iran's key Latin American ally President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, in Tehran for a two-day visit, strongly supported Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
"We are certain that Iran, as it has shown, will not back down in its effort to obtain what is a sovereign right of the people: to have all the equipment and structures to use atomic energy for peaceful purposes," he said in remarks broadcast by Venezuelan television.
"There is not a single proof that Iran is building... a nuclear bomb."
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Defiant Ahmadinejad says Iran ready for more sanctions
Tehran (AFP) Sept 3, 2009
A defiant President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Thursday Iran is ready for more sanctions over its nuclear programme and will not bow to pressure in meeting any deadline set by world powers. "No one can impose sanctions on Iran anymore. We welcome sanctions. We have given our proposed package," Ahmadinejad told reporters after parliament backed 18 of the 21 members in his new cabinet. ... read more
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