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Iran rubbishes latest UN nuclear watchdog report

Leaked details from the IAEA’s report on Iran’s nuclear programme have sparked an angry response from Ahmadinejad.

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaking to the press on 29 October 2011.
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaking to the press on 29 October 2011.
Image: AP Photo/Vahid Salemi/PA Images

A UN NUCLEAR watchdog is preparing to release a new report suggesting that Iran is moving towards the development of a nuclear weapon.

Leaked details of the anticipated report have prompted Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to criticise the agency as an American pawn.

The Iranian leader also indicated that the country’s nuclear development budget is around $270 million a year, saying that the US addition of $81 billion to its nuclear weapon budget is 300 times the annual cost of Iran’s nuclear budget.

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s latest report on Iran’s nuclear programme is expected to be released tomorrow and will include satellite images of what the agency believes are structures for carrying out nuclear arms tests.

It is also expected to suggest that Iran has created computer models of nuclear warheads.

Despite the apparent developments, the US is expected to continue to pursue its policy of sanctions against Iran in an effort to deter and prevent it from developing nuclear weapons.

Iran denies it is developing nuclear weapons and says it is pursing a nuclear enrichment programme for energy production.

Iran-US relations have further deteriorated lately over allegations that Iran was behind a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent announcement of a ‘virtual embassy’ for Iranian citizens who want to find out information about living and working in the US was subsequently rejected by Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson, who called Clinton’s remarks unprofessional.

Clinton also reiterated America’s commitment to imposing economic sanctions on Iran to put pressure on the country’s leaders.

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NATO’s top official recently said that NATO has no intention of intervening in Iran’s reported nuclear weapon programme.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi yesterday accused US officials of “fabricating lies and sowing the seeds of discord among different countries to draw attention away from their problems”, according to state news agency Press TV.

- Additional reporting by the AP

Read more: NATO “has no intention of intervening in Iran” >

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