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UN, Iran Clash Over Barred Inspectors

Yukiya Amano (file photo)
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says that Iran's rejection of two of its inspectors earlier this year has hampered the work of the UN nuclear watchdog.

"While the agency continues to verify the nondiversion of declared nuclear material in Iran, Iran has not provided the necessary cooperation to permit the agency to confirm that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities," Director-General Yukiya Amano told a meeting of the IAEA's 35-nation board of governors in Vienna today.

Iran's ambassador to the UN agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, rejected Amano's accusation.

Iran barred the inspectors in June, accusing them of giving "false information" about its nuclear program. But Amano told the IAEA board today he had full confidence in their "professionalism and impartiality."

The dispute over the inspectors has added to international concern about Iran's nuclear program, which the West fears is aimed at making weapons. Iran denies this.

Diplomats said that the IAEA board today nominated an Iran expert to head all of its inspections worldwide.

Belgian Herman Nackaerts was expected to head the IAEA safeguards department, which verifies that countries' nuclear programs are not being diverted for military use.

compiled from agency reports