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Iran's Foreign Minister Rejects IAEA Report

Iran’s Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, says the upcoming IAEA report on his country's nuclear program is "invalid."
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/6/2011, 6:12 AM

Iran’s Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, said on Saturday that the International Atomic Energy Agency’s upcoming report on his country’s nuclear program lacks authenticity, The Tehran Times reported.

The report, which has been termed “critical” by U.S. officials, is expected to show that Iran is inching closer to having a nuclear weapon.

However, Salehi rejected this and said in a joint press conference with his Burundian counterpart, “We have no problem with the release of documents but we believe that these documents are invalid.”

He added that the IAEA had already raised such claims and that his country answered all the questions asked by the UN body. He also suggested that the claims are being made because of the influence of major powers.

The Tehran Times also reported that Salehi was asked to comment on the remarks made by Israeli President Shimon Peres on Friday, in which he suggested that an Israeli military option to stop the Islamic republic from obtaining nuclear weapons was growing nearer.

According to the report, Salehi said that there is no need to respond to such baseless remarks.

Peres said in a special interview with Channel 2 News that a military strike would probably solve the Iranian issue better than diplomatic methods would, and called on the world’s nations to remember their responsibility to stop the Islamic Republic.

“It seems Iran is moving closer to having a nuclear weapon,” he said. “In the time that remains, we need to turn to the nations of the world and tell them that the time has come to fulfill their promise and their responsibility, which is about more than imposing sanctions.”

“We must do what should be done to stop Iran, and there is a very long menu of options about which I do not want to elaborate,” Peres added. “I want to remind [the world] of the urgent political and moral obligation (of other countries). It’s not just our problem, but also theirs.”

Meanwhile, the United States has clarified that it has not yet given up on diplomatic methods to prevent the Iranian nuclear program.

“What we’re focused on is a diplomatic strategy which increases the pressure on the Iranians, through financial pressure, through economic sanctions, through diplomatic isolation,” Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes told reporters on Thursday.

He admitted, however, that Iran “has been unable to demonstrate the peaceful intent of its nuclear program” and that it is “the only treaty member of the (Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty) that cannot convince the International Atomic Energy Agency that their program is peaceful.”

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland also addressed the Iranian issue on Thursday, telling reporters that while the Obama administration does “not seek a military confrontation with Iran,” it was not closing the door on any option.

“We are going to use every means at our disposal to continue to try to increase the international pressure on Iran to meet its IAEA obligations and to come clean on its nuclear program,” Nuland told reporters in Washington.