Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency said Friday that he was able to prove to the UN watchdog that its report on the Islamic Republic's nuclear capabilities was "unfounded, groundless and scientifically baseless," the state-run IRNA news agency reported.
The IAEA held a three-hour meeting in Vienna on Friday, showing letters and satellite images as part of evidence pointing to military dimensions to Iran's atomic activities, diplomats said, but Tehran's envoy dismissed it as "lousy" intelligence work.
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Herman Nackaerts, head of nuclear inspections worldwide at the International Atomic Energy Agency, made an hour-long technical presentation of the IAEA's latest report on Iran's nuclear program at a closed-door meeting for member states.
At the briefing, participants said Nackaerts displayed procurement-related correspondence involving Iranian officials as well as satellite images of the Parchin military site southeast of Tehran.
'Report was lousy intelligence job'
In turn, the Iranian representative, Asghar Soltanieh, presented the agency with Iran's rebuttal to the report. Even after years of inspections, Soltanieh said at the meeting, the IAEA cannot substantiate the claim that Islamic Republic holds any atomic materials for military purposes.
According to IRNA, Soltanieh claimed that the IAEA officials admitted during the meeting they do not have any original documents proving that Iran is working on nuclear weapons.
Moreover, Soltanieh said that he was able to demonstrate that a number of cases presented in the report "were scientifically baseless," and that his presentation prompted several important questions from "some friendly countries." He did not specify which countries, or what exactly they had asked.
The IAEA report, based on what the agency called "credible" information, indicated that Iran had built a large explosives vessel there to conduct hydrodynamic experiments, which are "strong indicators of possible weapon development".
But Soltanieh said that Iran had already addressed the issues brought up in the report, insisting that the agency decided to rehash these matters due to political pressure. Tehran authorities have dismissed the report as a "Zionist plot."
Saying the report had damaged the UN agency's credibility, Soltanieh told reporters after the discussion that "This kind of lousy job of intelligence created problems for all member states."
US demands Iran to respond swiftly
Earlier Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton demanded that Iran respond to the IAEA's accusations within days, and repeated that Washington was consulting allies on further steps to pressure Tehran.
Clinton, speaking at an Asia-Pacific summit in Honolulu, made clear that the US was seeking to marshal international support for additional sanctions against Iran, but stopped short of specifying actions under consideration.
US President Barack Obama was expected to seek a united front against Iran when he meets world leaders, including Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Chinese President Hu Jintao, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit this weekend.
But Russia and China have said they do not support new sanctions, limiting the chances of pushing through another package of UN Security Council measures against Tehran over its nuclear program.
Clinton, speaking to reporters after talks with her counterparts at the APEC meeting, said, "We discussed the recent report raising serious concerns about the weapons-related work the Iranian government has undertaken."
"Iran has a long history of deception and denial regarding its nuclear program, and in the coming days we expect Iran to answer the serious questions raised by this report," she said.
Reuters and AP contributed to the report
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