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IAEA chief dismisses charges of hiding evidence on Iran

UN atomic watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei dismissed allegations he withheld key evidence on Iran's alleged weaponisation studies as "politically motivated and totally baseless."

world Updated: Sep 07, 2009 21:22 IST

UN atomic watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei on Monday dismissed allegations he withheld key evidence on Iran's alleged weaponisation studies as "politically motivated and totally baseless."

"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," ElBaradei told the International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-member board of governors at the start of a week-long meeting in Vienna.

"These allegations are politically motivated and totally baseless. Such attempts to influence the work of the secretariat and undermine its independence and objectivity are in violation ... of the IAEA statute and should cease forthwith," the diplomat said.

The accusations were made first by Israel and more recently by France.

ElBaradei has regularly been accused of being too soft on Iran in the past, not least by the United States.

Last week, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner asked publicly why ElBaradei refuses to provide the annexes of his latest report on Iran, in which he said "there are elements which enable us to ask questions about the reality of an atomic bomb," in particular on issues of warheads and transport.

A number of diplomats close to the IAEA are sceptical whether such an annex really exists.