Iran slams Western media reports on enriched uranium
Iran on Saturday denounced as "suspicious and vague" Western media reports that UN inspectors had found enriched uranium in environmental samples taken recently in the country.
"This type of forged news is suspicious and vague, since it is up to the International Atomic Energy Agency to make comments on this issue, and not diplomats who have no accurate information about it," Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said, according to IRNA.
Reuters on Friday cited unnamed diplomats as alleging that samples taken from a nuclear facility in Natanz, central Iran, showed Tehran has been enriching uranium without informing the U.N. nuclear watchdog.
Asefi said, "the Natanz facility has not become operational yet. Thus, the claim of enriched uranium (to have been found) there is totally meaningless."
The official stressed that the facility is "under the IAEA safeguards and supervision and no clandestine activity is taking place there".
"This saying that the samples taken show levels of enrichment is very questionable and we expect this issue will be clarified in our dialogue with the (International Atomic Energy) Agency," Asefi added.
The IAEA chief, Mohamed Elbaradei, denied reports that experts had determined that enriched uranium was found in the samples. He described the reports as "pure speculation at this stage,"Associated Press said.
"We are not in any way ready to come up with a conclusion on that issue before we discuss all the results with the Iranian authorities," AP cited him in Vienna as saying.
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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