Iran complains to UNSC of Israeli 'warmongering'

Tehran downplays IAEA report showing it is pressing ahead with its uranium enrichment work, accuses Barak of unlawful rhetoric.

May 26, 2012 17:17
3 minute read.
United Nations Security Council

United Nations Security Council 311 (R). (photo credit: Mike Segar / Reuters)

Iran has lodged a complaint with the UN Security Council, accusing Israel of warmongering remarks that contradict international law, Iran's Fars News Agency reported on Saturday.

In a letter delivered to the UN Security Council on Friday, Iranian UN envoy Mohammad Khazayee said that comments made by Defense Minister Ehud Barak on a potential attack against Iran's nuclear sites "are considered as violation of the basic principles of the UN Charter, international rules and a move against the global endeavors to foster regional and international peace and security," according to Fars.

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Khazayee added in the letter that Barak's "baseless" remarks about Iran's pursuing of nuclear weapons were made by an official of a regime which threatens international and regional peace with its nuclear arsenal.

Iran's reiteration that its nuclear program is peaceful came as both the UN nuclear watchdog and an influential US think tank suggested otherwise over the weekend.

Iran has significantly stepped up its output of low-enriched uranium and total production in the last five years would be enough for at least five nuclear weapons if refined much further, a US security institute said Saturday.

The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), a think-tank which tracks Iran's nuclear program closely, based the analysis on data in the latest report by the UN International Atomic Energy Agency which was issued on Friday.

Progress in Iran's nuclear activities is closely watched by the West and Israel as it could determine how long it could take Tehran to build atomic bombs, if it decided to do so. Iran denies any plan to and says its aims are entirely peaceful.

During talks in Baghdad this week, six world powers failed to convince Iran to scale back its uranium enrichment program. They will meet again in Moscow next month to try to defuse a decade-old standoff that has raised fears of a new war in the Middle East that could disrupt oil supplies.

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Friday's report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a Vienna-based UN body, showed Iran was pressing ahead with its uranium enrichment work in defiance of UN resolutions calling on it to suspend the activity.

It said Iran had produced almost 6.2 tons of uranium enriched to a level of 3.5 percent since it began the work in 2007 - some of which has subsequently been further processed into higher-grade material.

This is nearly 750 kg more than in the previous IAEA report issued in February, and ISIS said Iran's monthly production had risen by roughly a third.

"This total amount of 3.5 percent low enriched uranium hexafluoride, if further enriched to weapon grade, is enough to make over five nuclear weapons," ISIS said in its analysis.

Friday's IAEA report also said environmental samples taken in February at Iran's Fordow facility - buried deep beneath rock and soil to protect it from air strikes - showed the presence of particles with enrichment levels of up to 27 percent.

Iran's permanent representative to the body played down the findings, saying some western media sought to turn a technical issue into a political one.

"This matter is a routine technical discussion that is currently being reviewed by experts," IRNA quoted Ali Asghar Soltanieh, as saying.

The IAEA report suggested it was possible that particles of uranium enriched to higher-than-declared levels could be the result of a technical phenomenon. Experts say that while it is embarrassing for Iran, there is no real cause for concern.

The UN agency also said satellite images showed "extensive activities" at the Parchin military complex which inspectors want to check over suspicions that research relevant to nuclear weapons was done there.

After talks in Tehran earlier this week, IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said the two sides were close to an agreement to let inspectors resume investigations into suspected nuclear explosive experiments in Iran.

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