Israel slams IAEA for ‘failing to expose’ Iran ambitions; Iran wants ‘apology’ after IAEA report
(AFP) Israel slammed the United Nations nuclear watchdog on Friday for failing to expose what it insisted was Iran’s drive to acquire an atomic bomb in a key report on its archfoe’s nuclear programme.
The International Atomic Energy Agency report on Thursday said Iran has made some progress in revealing the extent of its nuclear programme, but that it is still defying UN demands to suspend its controversial uranium enrichment.
“The report fails to expose (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad’s intentions that are well known to the IAEA and its chief Mohamed ElBaradei,” Deputy Foreign Minister Majalli Whbee told AFP.
Israel and the West fear that Iran’s nuclear programme is cover for a drive to develop the bomb, but Tehran insists it is solely for peaceful ends.
In a statement, the Israeli foreign ministry said the report “confirms that Iran is committing an ongoing violation of the Security Council resolutions and continues to advance its nuclear programme.”
“It must be stated that the agency says in its report that it is not in a situation in which it can carry out its mandate and reliably state the non-existence of undeclared nuclear activites and/or materials by Iran,” it said.
The IAEA report, which said that Iran’s “cooperation has been reactive rather than pro-active,” allows the Islamic republic to buy time in its drive to produce a nuclear weapon, Whbee charged.
“ElBaradei is aware of Iran’s selective cooperation. He knows the truth that it wants to carry on enriching uranium,” he said.
“Any extension of time that the international community gives Iran will allow it more time to develop a bomb. The international community must act to make Iran stop its programme and abide by the UN Security Council resolutions.”
Thursday’s report acknowledged that Iran had provided “sufficient access” and responded in a “timely manner” to questions and requests for clarifications.
Whbee said the report could act as a milestone on the road to a third round of Security Council sanctions against Tehran, adding that “the world must toughen the sanctions and not accept Iran’s selective cooperation.”
Washington wants further UN sanctions against Tehran. Britain and France have said they need more time to study the IAEA report, but both urged Iran to cooperate fully with the international community.
Whbee joined a growing chorus of senior Israeli officials who have called for the IAEA chief to step down.
“ElBaradei is hiding his head in the sand and exposing the region and the entire world to a real threat. This raises many questions,” he said.
Israel, which belongs to the UN nuclear watchdog but is not a signatory to its key Non-Proliferation Treaty, is widely considered to have the Middle East’s sole — if undeclared — nuclear arsenal.
It considers Iran its chief enemy after repeated statements by Ahmadinejad that the Jewish state should be wiped off the map.
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