21 September 2012
The head of Iran's nuclear agency has admitted that he provided false information to United Nations nuclear inspectors. Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, who also serves as vice president of Iran, told the London-based Arabic newspaper al-Hayat that he lied to International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to protect his country's nuclear program.
“Sometimes we provided false information since there was no other choice but to mislead other intelligence agencies; sometimes we made ourselves appear weak and at other times we reported issues that made us appear stronger than we really were," he said.
Iran has had an ongoing series of meetings with the Western powers about its nuclear program. On Tuesday, Abbasi-Davani met with IAEA head Yukiya Amano, who called on Iran to open all its nuclear sites for inspection.
One Israeli official said that Jerusalem had no doubt that the Iranians have adopted a deliberate policy of deceiving the international community for more than a decade.
“Their deception is well known,” the official said, adding that what came as a surprise was Abbasi-Davani’s candid admission.
Meanwhile, the US, Britain and France all warned Iran in the Security Council on Thursday that time was running out for negotiations over its nuclear program, but stopped short of drawing the red lines that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has demanded.
At a Security Council meeting on Iran sanctions, US Ambassador Susan Rice said the West “will not engage in an endless process of negotiations that fail to produce any results. We must therefore remain clear and united in seeking resolution of the international community’s concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear program... Time is wasting.”
Three rounds of negotiations since April between Iran and the P5+1 – the US, Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain – have led nowhere.
French Ambassador Gerard Araud said that while the West was asking Iran to negotiate, “Iran is not negotiating.”
Britain’s UN envoy Mark Lyall Grant told the Security Council that Iran was “at a crossroads,” and that it must decide “soon” whether or not it wants to be a responsible member of the international community.
“It can support the oppressive regime in Syria in suppressing freedom, or it can play a constructive role in its region. It can be an exporter of terrorism or a responsible member of the international community. But it must make these choices soon,” Lyall Grant said, without setting any deadline.
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