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Iran accuses U.S of nuclear program espionage

RIA Novosti

08/12/2007 17:18 TEHRAN, December 8 (RIA Novosti) - Iran has accused the U.S. of espionage in connection with its controversial nuclear program, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported on Saturday, citing the Islamic Republic's foreign minister.

Iran sent a protest letter to the Swiss embassy in Tehran, which deals with U.S. interests in the country.

"The ministry submitted a letter to the Swiss embassy in Tehran ... demanding explanations over America's espionage," IRNA quoted Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki as saying.

The accusation came as a response to a recent U.S. intelligence report on Iran's nuclear program, which Mottaki said made it clear that Washington had employed surveillance satellites and other espionage operations.

The U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), published on Monday, stated that Tehran had put a stop to weapons production in 2003, although it was continuing to enrich uranium.

The report contradicted a previous U.S. intelligence assessment in 2005 which said that the Islamic Republic was actively pursuing a nuclear bomb.

U.S. President George W. Bush remained hawkish, despite the report, saying on Tuesday that, "Iran was dangerous, Iran is dangerous and Iran will be dangerous if they have the know how to make a nuclear weapon."

When asked if military action remained an option, the president answered, "The best diplomacy - effective diplomacy - is one in which all options are on the table."

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