Iran rejects IAEA nuclear report as 'political move'

Iranian lawmaker says UN watchdog report revealing doubled nuclear capacity at the underground Fordow facility is nothing but a "political move" aimed at overshadowing Non-Aligned Movement conference in Tehran.

August 31, 2012 11:57
2 minute read.
Ahmadinejad looks on next to nuclear scientists

Ahmadinejad nuclear unveiling 390. (photo credit: REUTERS)


Iran has portrayed its hosting of the summit of the 120-nation group of developing nations as proof that Western efforts to isolate it for its disputed nuclear program have failed.

The IAEA's quarterly report on Iran said buildings had been demolished and earth removed at a military site the agency wants to inspect, in what Western diplomats see as an effort by Tehran to remove any evidence of illicit nuclear-linked tests.

Based on the report, the number of centrifuges at Fordow, near the holy Shi'ite Muslim city of Qom, about 130 km (80 miles) from Tehran, had more than doubled to 2,140 from 1,064 in May. The new machines were not yet operating, it said.

During his speech at the NAM summit on Thursday, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran's nuclear program was entirely peaceful. "Our motto is nuclear energy for all and nuclear weapons for none," he said.

But the expansion in enrichment infrastructure and the stockpiles of nuclear material revealed in the IAEA's report will do nothing to ease international concerns or reduce the diplomatic and sanctions pressure on Iran.

Iran has threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, conduit for more than a third of the world's sea-borne oil trade, in response to increasingly harsh sanctions by the United States and its allies intended to force it to curb its nuclear work.

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