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Iran Denies Hiding Sensitive Nuclear Designs

Tehran, 16 February 2004 (RFE/RL) -- A senior Iranian official is today quoted as denying Iran is hiding research on specialized equipment capable of producing material for nuclear bombs.

Reports last week said International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors have uncovered designs for uranium enrichment centrifuges in Iran which had not been declared to the IAEA.

But Hossein Mousavian, head of foreign relations at Iran's Supreme National Security Council, is quoted in an Iranian newspaper ("Hamshahri") as saying the IAEA had already been informed of the research, which he described as being at an early stage.

The U.S. State Department accused Iran on 13 February of continuing to hide information about its nuclear programs. It said it believes Iran has not made a strategic decision to abandon its efforts to develop a nuclear-weapons capability.

Iran has consistently denied seeking to build nuclear weapons. It agreed last October to allow snap inspections of its nuclear facilities.