US nuclear report based on 'espionage': Iran

Iran has sent a formal protest note to Washington for "spying" on Iran's nuclear activities, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in the wake of the latest US report on the alleged Iranian weapons program.

US nuclear report based on 'espionage': Iran
Mottaki said Saturday that the American report earlier this week concluding that Teheran halted atomic weapons development in 2003 and hasn't resumed it since indicated US intelligence agencies based their findings on "satellite and espionage activities," according to the official IRNA news agency.

IRNA said the note was handed over to the Swiss Embassy in Teheran, which looks after US interests in Iran in the absence of diplomatic relations between Teheran and Washington.

"The day the report was issued, the Foreign Ministry submitted a formal note of protest to the Swiss Embassy and demanded explanations over (America's) espionage activities taking place (on Iran's nuclear program)," Mottaki was quoted as saying.

The US report, released Monday, was a sharp turnaround from a previous intelligence assessment in 2005.

Mottaki said 70 percent of the US report was "true and positive," but denied its allegations of Iran having had a nuclear weapons program before 2003.

"The remaining 30 percent, in which they claim that Iran had a nuclear weapons program before 2003 is wrong," Mottaki said. "They refused to confess about this 30 percent because they did not want to lose all their reputation."

Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the UN nuclear watchdog agency, called the report a "sigh of relief" because its conclusions also jibe with his agency's own findings.

Russia, a power Iran looks to for assistance and a veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council, said Wednesday there was no proof Iran has ever run a nuclear weapons program.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov indicated America's acknowledgment that Iran halted a suspect nuclear weapons bid in 2003 undermine Washington's push for a new set of UN sanctions.

Political directors from the six key countries dealing with Iran's nuclear program—the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany—are scheduled to talk by phone on Monday or Tuesday about a new sanctions resolution, Security Council diplomats said.

Mottaki said the US intelligence report contained both "correct and incorrect" information.

He didn't elaborate which parts of the report were in his perception wrong, but claimed it was prepared in early 2007, only to be blocked from release earlier by political bickering in the United States.

"The US intelligence agencies report had been prepared at the beginning of the year, but political disputes between the warmongering faction and their opponents delayed its release," Mottaki said.

Mottaki was also quoted Saturday as saying US President George W. Bush was "lying" when he said he was informed of the report recently.

"Remarks by Bush that he was informed of the report recently shows that he is lying and has a short memory," Mottaki said.

Mottaki added that in the wake of the report, any US military action against Iran for its refusal to halt uranium enrichment is ruled out.

"We rule out the option of military strike against Iran after the release of this report," the minister was quoted as saying.


Agencies


Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Aralık 2007, 14:29
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