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VIENNA, Austria (AP) — The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency warned Monday that Iran may be hiding secret nuclear activities, comments that appeared to reflect a high level of frustration with stonewalling of his investigators.
A senior Iranian envoy accused the United States of trying to use the IAEA as a tool in Washington's confrontation with Tehran. Iran, he said, has demonstrated full cooperation with the agency. Allegations of nuclear weapons work by Tehran is based on forged documents and the issue is closed, the envoy said.
The two men spoke at the start of a 35-nation board IAEA meeting. With time running out before Tehran develops potential nuclear weapons capacity, some worry that Israel or the U.S. might resort to military strikes if they believe all diplomatic options have been exhausted.
And with Tehran showing no signs of giving up uranium enrichment or heeding other international demands, the diplomatic window appears to be closing.
IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei said Iran's stonewalling of his agency was a "serious concern."
"Iran needs to give the agency substantive information" to clear up suspicions, he told the closed board meeting, in comments made available to reporters. He rejected the Iranian suggestion that the IAEA probe could expose non-nuclear military secrets, saying the IAEA "does not in any way seek to 'pry' into Iran's conventional or missile-related military activities."
"We need, however, to make use of all relevant information to be able to confirm that no nuclear material is being used for nuclear weapons purposes," he said, urging Iran to "implement all measures required to build confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program at the earliest possible date."