Iranian Atomic Chief Claims Nuclear Sites 'Sabotaged'
September 17, 2012
Iran's nuclear chief has said that "terrorists and saboteurs" may have infiltrated the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in an effort to derail Tehran's nuclear program.
Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, said saboteurs have targeted two key nuclear facilities in Iran by bombing power lines to the sites.
He told a Vienna meeting of the IAEA's 155-nation general conference on September 17 that power lines to the Fordow uranium enrichment complex were cut on August 17 by explosives.
He suggested that the UN nuclear agency requested a visit to the facility the following day in order to assess the damage.
He said the power lines to a facility in Natanz were also cut by a blast.
The United States, Israel, and other countries fear that Iran might use enriched uranium for nuclear weapons, while Tehran says it needs the material to fuel reactors.
The IAEA has been trying unsuccessfully in recent months to secure an agreement with Tehran that would allow UN inspectors to start investigating alleged nuclear weapons projects.
Abbasi-Davani's comments come ahead of talks on September 18 between Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, and the European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Istanbul.
Ashton, who is negotiating on behalf of the so-called P5+1 contact group, said the planned meeting is not a formal negotiating round but is "part of continuing efforts to engage with Iran."
The P5+1 contact group -- made up of China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Germany -- did not make any breakthrough in the last round of talks with Iran in June.
With reporting by Reuters, dpa, and AP
Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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