IAEA: U.S. report on Iran’s nuclear plan ‘outrageous and dishonest’


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

Last update - 13:40 14/09/2006

IAEA: U.S. report on Iran's nuclear plan 'outrageous and dishonest'

By Yossi Melman, Haaretz Correspondent and Reuters

VIENNA - UN inspectors have protested to the U.S. government and a Congressional
committee about a report on Iran's nuclear work, calling parts of it "outrageous
and dishonest," according to a letter obtained by Reuters.

The letter said the errors suggested Iran's nuclear fuel program was much more 
advanced than a series of IAEA reports and Washington's own intelligence 
assessments have determined.

IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said: "We felt obliged to put the record 
straight with regard to the facts on what we have reported on Iran. It's a 
matter of the integrity of the IAEA."

The letter said the report falsely described Iran to have enriched uranium at 
its pilot centrifuge plant to weapons-grade level in April, whereas IAEA 
inspectors had made clear Iran had enriched only to a low level usable for 
nuclear power reactor fuel.

The U.S. has also said that mass quantities of uranium gas await enrichment, 
which would ultimately be used for the construction of some 40 nuclear bombs.

"Furthermore, the IAEA Secretariat takes strong exception to the incorrect and 
misleading assertion" that the IAEA opted to remove a senior safeguards 
inspector for supposedly concluding the purpose of Iran's programme was to build
weapons, it said.

The letter said the congressional report contained "an outrageous and dishonest 
suggestion" that the inspector was dumped for having not adhered to an alleged 
IAEA policy barring its "officials from telling the whole truth" about Iran.

The letter recalled clashes between the IAEA and the Bush administration before 
the 2003 Iraq war over findings cited by Washington about Iraqi weapons of mass 
destruction that proved false, and underlined continued tensions over Iran's 

"This (committee report) is deja vu of the pre-Iraq war period where the facts 
are being maligned and attempts are being made to ruin the integrity of IAEA 
inspectors," said a Western diplomat familiar with the agency and IAEA-U.S. 

Sent to the head of the House of Representatives' Select Committee on 
Intelligence by a senior aide to International Atomic Energy Agency chief 
Mohamed ElBaradei, the letter said an Aug. 23 committee report contained serious
distortions of IAEA findings on Iran's activity.

Diplomats say the inspector remains IAEA Iran section head.

The IAEA has been inspecting Iran's nuclear program since 2003. Although it has 
found no hard evidence that Iran is working on atomic weapons, it has uncovered 
many previously concealed activities linked to uranium enrichment, a process of 
purifying fuel for nuclear power plants or weapons.

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