Iranian nuclear energy head Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani said Thursday that his country put out misinformation to counter British spying.

In an interview with the Arabic-language newspaper Al-Hayat, Abbasi-Davani said that Iran falsified information to mislead foreign intelligence agencies such as MI6 "in order to protect our nuclear sites" and economic interests.

In a rebuke of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN nuclear watchdog that Abbasi-Davani accused of "condemning" Iran in advance, saying that Iranian misinformation had made its way into IAEA discussions.

"Sometimes we show weaknesses where we are not weak. Sometimes we show strengths where we are not strong. Later this became evident in talks with the IAEA," he said.

On Tuesday, the IAEA insisted that Iran must address concerns about suspected bomb research, saying it was ready for talks and avoiding any mention of Tehran's allegation that "terrorists" may have infiltrated the Vienna-based agency.

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In a statement on a meeting between IAEA chief Yukiya Amano and Iranian nuclear energy head Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani on Monday, Amano said it was essential for Iran to cooperate with his inspectors to clarify concerns about possible military dimensions to its nuclear program, a charge Tehran rejects.

He told Abbasi-Davani that the IAEA "is committed to continued dialogue with the Islamic Republic of Iran and expressed the readiness of agency negotiators to meet with Iran's in the near future", the statement said.

The UN agency has been seeking to resume a long-stalled investigation into Iran's atomic activities, but talks that began in January have made little headway.

Reuters contributed to this report.

A previous version of this article mistakenly attributed quotes to Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili instead of Iran's nuclear energy head Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani.

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