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Iran Accuses U.S. Of Bullying IAEA

Vienna/Washington, 11 March 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Pirooz Hosseini, has accused the Americans of pressuring the UN nuclear agency.

Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi urged the IAEA to avoid being swayed by what he called Washington's political agenda against Iran. He also said Iran would resume its uranium enrichment program after resolving its case with the IAEA.

IAEA chief Muhammad el-Baradei warned such a move could prove very damaging. He praised Iranian cooperation so far.

"Now they [Iranian officials] are cooperating in a very good way with the agency, and I hope we will continue to get Iran's cooperation so we can verify that all their programs are exclusively for peaceful purposes," el-Baradei said.

The IAEA's 35-nation board is meeting in Vienna this week to decide how to deal with Iran's failure to fully disclose its nuclear activities.

In Washington, Secretary of State Colin Powell said a IAEA resolution being debated includes a warning that Iran is close to violating its IAEA obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and could face "further action."

Washington has been pressing for sanctions against Iran, a step opposed by Britain, Germany, France.