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Iran questions Amano's basis for 'concern'

Press TV, 20 February 2010

Iran's envoy to the UN atomic watchdog says the concern expressed in the Agency's latest report is "groundless," as it is not based on any new information.

On Thursday, the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Yukiya Amano issued a report about Iran's nuclear program, verifying the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in the country.

Although new IAEA chief confirmed that Iran's nuclear work had not diverted toward military agendas, he claimed that there were concerns about "the possible existence… of past or current undisclosed activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile."

Amano, who has reportedly said that at his new position he wants to focus on "the facts" and pursue a more technical approach than his predecessor Mohamed ElBaradei, also complained about the level of Iran's cooperation with the Agency.

This is while the UN nuclear watchdog has carried out the highest number of inspections in Iran compared to any other country throughout its history, and found nothing to indicate that the program has diverted toward weaponization.

"It seems that unsubstantiated allegations that certain countries had previously made about Iran have once again been introduced in this report," Tehran's Ambassador to the IAEA Ali Asghar Soltanieh told ISNA on Friday.

"Issues pertaining to the alleged studies, missiles and explosives are worn-out topics, which have already been dismissed in ElBaradei's reports. They are not anything new," he added.

He then went on to imply that the IAEA's decision to reintroduce to past issues and take a different tone was the direct result of a change in its leadership, and not the outcome of not an unbiased evaluation.

"Considering that there is a new chief in place, it is strange that the IAEA's Safeguards Department has once again brought up all past issues regarding Iran's nuclear activities. It leaves room for criticism," he said.

"There is no reason why already examined cases relating to Iran's nuclear work should be reopened once again… this [repetition] could cause misunderstandings to occur," he added.

Soltanieh said that a close look at the report showed that the IAEA had, as always, confirmed that Tehran's activities were peaceful and under Agency supervision.

He then criticized Western powers for interpreting the IAEA report in an "exaggerated, selective and inaccurate" manner.

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