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VIENNA, Austria — Diplomats say that China has given the U.N. nuclear watchdog intelligence linked to Tehran's alleged attempts to make nuclear arms.
The development is surprising because Beijing, along with Moscow, has opposed U.S.-led attempts to impose harsh penalties on Tehran over its nuclear defiance of the U.N. Security Council. The diplomats spoke to The Associated Press earlier this week and Wednesday. They asked for anonymity because their information is confidential.
But the agency has signaled it is not giving up on its efforts to investigate purported military aspects of Tehran's nuclear activities. Other diplomats told the AP that deputy director general Olli Heinonen planned to meet in the next few days with Ali-Ashgar Soltanieh, Iran's chief delegate to the agency, to press for answers.
Ahead of that tentative meeting, Gregory L. Schulte, the chief U.S. delegate to the IAEA, urged Tehran to end its stonewalling. He told the AP that with the next IAEA report due in about two months, time was running out for Iran to "explain these serious indications of troubling activities."
China has dismissed the reports that Beijing has provided the UN nuclear watchdog with confidential intelligence on Iran's nuclear program.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said Thursday that the report was "totally groundless and out of ulterior motives.''