VIENNA - Iran accused the UN nuclear watchdog of a cynical approach and mismanagement on Monday in an unusually strong outburst in such an international forum.

Iran's atomic energy agency chief, Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, suggested that "terrorists and saboteurs" might have infiltrated the agency, which is investigating Tehran's disputed atomic activities.

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He also told the annual member state gathering of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that the agency was influenced by "certain states", a clear reference to Tehran's Western foes.