Page last updated at 13:32 GMT, Monday, 7 September 2009 14:32 UK

Accusations fly at IAEA over Iran

Mohamed ElBaradei at the governor's meeting
Mr ElBaradei is accused of holding back information about Iranian concealment

France has repeated its accusation that the UN nuclear watchdog is hiding facts about Iran's atomic activity, just as the body's head issued a strong denial.

International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohamed ElBaradei said he had been dismayed by the "politically motivated and totally baseless accusations".

A foreign ministry spokeswoman insisted Paris had proof that key information was left out of the latest IAEA report.

The missing details had been included in a technical briefing, she said.

In a rare public dispute at the normally discrete IAEA's discussions, Mr ElBaradei lashed out at certain members which he did not name.

"I am dismayed by the allegations of some member states, which have been fed to the media, that information has been withheld from the Board.

"These allegations are politically motivated and totally baseless," he said at the opening of the regular IAEA governors' meeting in Vienna.

"Such attempts to influence the work of the (IAEA's non-proliferation inspectorate) and undermine its independence and objectivity are in violation of... the IAEA Statute and should therefore cease forthwith."


In the main part of his speech, Mr ElBaradei summed up the situation between Iran and the IAEA as a "stalemate" and he urged Tehran to "substantially re-engage" with the UN body.

He referred to an inquiry into weaponisation which Iran has blocked, its refusal to suspend enrichment as demanded by the UN Security Council and its failure to adopt an IAEA protocol permitting inspections away from declared nuclear sites.

A week earlier French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said the UN watchdog had delayed publication of "important" annexes about enrichment in its most recent report.

Israel said that the latest IAEA report did not reflect all the agency knew, in respect of Iranian concealment and deception.

After Mr ElBaradei's rejection of this in Vienna, France's foreign ministry spokeswoman Christine Pages said: "France attended a technical briefing at the agency. All of this information was not reflected in the report."

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