Iran slams Western 'pressure' on UN nuclear watchdog chief
AFP | May 28, 2007
Iran on Monday slammed the "political pressures" being exerted by Washington and Europe on UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei over Tehran's disputed atomic programme.
"The political pressures exerted on Mr. ElBaradei by the United States and certain European countries because of his technical and judicial comments run contrary to the agency's independence," said the foreign ministry spokesman.
They also "weaken the IAEA and its chief," Mohammad Ali Hosseini warned, quoted by Iranian news agencies.
The International Atomic Energy Agency chief has said in a series of press interviews that Iran ought to be allowed to conduct some uranium enrichment, drawing a rebuke from Western powers.
ElBaradei said the international community should deal realistically with the fact that Iran has attained the know-how to enrich uranium and should allow it to conduct limited enrichment.
His comments prompted the United States to lead its allies Britain, France and Japan in lodging a protest with him at the IAEA's headquarters in Vienna last Friday.
The four governments "raised their concerns about statements made by the director general (ElBaradei) to the media" on Iran's nuclear programme, US State Department spokesman Tom Casey said.
Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki last week praised ElBaradei but said his comments did not go far enough for the Islamic republic, which insists on uranium enrichment in defiance of the UN Security Council.
Tehran says that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty it has a right to enrich uranium and denies accusations that it is seeking to develop a nuclear arsenal.
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