Iran accuses IAEA of passing nuclear secrets to Israel

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 23, 2012 9:16 AM
Iran accuses IAEA of passing nuclear secrets to Israel

DUBAI (Reuters) - A senior Iranian lawmaker accused the head of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog on Sunday of passing confidential information about Iran's nuclear activities to Israel.

In the latest sign of strained relations with the International Atomic Energy Agency, Javad Jahangirzadeh, a member of parliament's presiding board, said IAEA chief Yukiya Amano would be to blame if Iran reduced its ties with the body.

"Amano's repeated trips to Tel Aviv and asking the Israeli officials' views about Iran's nuclear activities indicates that Iran's nuclear information has been disclosed to the Zionist regime (Israel) and other enemies of the Islamic Republic," Jahangirzadeh was quoted as saying by Iran's English-language Press TV.

The IAEA was not immediately available to comment. Records show Amano has made only one visit to Israel in his capacity as IAEA chief, in August 2010. He visited Tehran in May this year.

"If the agency's actions lead to Iran cutting cooperation with this international body, all responsibility will be with the IAEA director general," said Jahangirzadeh, also a member of parliament's national security and foreign policy committee.

Last week, Iranian nuclear energy chief Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani said "terrorists" might have infiltrated the Vienna-based agency. He suggested the IAEA included too much sensitive information about Iran's nuclear program in its reports that he said could be used by saboteurs.

Western diplomats dismissed his allegations as an attempt to distract attention away from the agency's bid to gain access to a site in Iran it suspects was used for nuclear weapons research, something Tehran denies.

Iran blames Israel and its Western allies for the assassination of nuclear scientists in Iran, including an unsuccessful attempt on Abbasi-Davani in November 2010. It also blames those countries for computer viruses that appeared designed to damage its nuclear machinery.

The 35-nation board of the agency censured Iran earlier this month for defying international demands to curb uranium enrichment and failing to address mounting disquiet about its suspected research into atomic bombs.

The resolution prompted Iran's Parliament Speaker, Ali Larijani, to cast doubt on the benefit of Iran's membership in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Tehran Times reported.

The commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Ali Jafari, told a news conference last week that Tehran would withdraw from the NPT if attacked by Israel which has increased hints it may launch air strikes on Iran's nuclear sites.

Iran's parliament does not decide matters of foreign policy and national security, which are the province of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

In another allegation of underhand behavior against Iran, the head of parliament's national security and foreign policy committee said German engineering company Siemens had planted explosives in equipment it sold to Iran for use in its nuclear program.

Siemens, which was building a nuclear power station in Iran before the Islamic Revolution that toppled the shah in 1979, denied Alaeddin Boroujerdi's accusation.

"Siemens does not have any business ties with Iran's nuclear program and does not supply any technical equipment for it," a spokesman for the Munich-based multinational said.

(Reporting By Yeganeh Torbati; Additional reporting by Fredrik Dahl in Vienna and Maria Sheahan in Frankfurt; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)