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Iran denies misplacing nuclear gear

29 May 2010 17:09

Iran has denied any knowledge of reports that inspectors from the UN nuclear watchdog were unable to reexamine certain equipment in an Iranian nuclear laboratory.

Diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Associated Press on Friday that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) officials were alarmed by the disappearance of the gear.

“We have absolutely no knowledge of these claims,” spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Shirzadian told Press TV on Saturday.

One of the diplomats told AP that the vanished equipment may have been part of an attempted cover-up, while another said it was too early to draw conclusions, suggesting it could have been taken to another site for maintenance.

The concerns revolve around allegations that the multipurpose research laboratory has conducted pyroprocessing — a procedure that can be used to purify uranium metal used in nuclear warheads.

Iran has officially rejected the claim, stressing that “there is no pyroprocessing R&D activity and the question raised has been a misinterpretation by the agency inspectors.”

Meanwhile, senior Iranian officials said Saturday that Tehran was awaiting a response from the IAEA over the nuclear fuel swap declaration issued following talks with Turkey and Brazil.

Despite the declaration whereby Iran agreed to swap its low enriched uranium on Turkish soil with fuel for its research reactor, the US and its European allies continue to claim that Tehran is pursuing a military nuclear program and are pushing for the imposition of a fourth round of UN sanctions against Iran.

Tehran argues that as an IAEA member and a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), it has the right to a civilian nuclear program.

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