Iran bars two UN nuclear inspectors over report

Isfahan nuclear facility, file pic Iran insists its nuclear programme is solely for peaceful purposes

Iran has told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) it will not allow two of its inspectors to enter the country, state media report.

The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation, Ali Akbar Salehi, said they had prematurely published a report he described as "untruthful".

Mr Salehi did not say which parts of the report he considered inaccurate.

The decision comes two weeks after the UN Security Council voted to impose a fourth round of sanctions on Iran.

US President Barack Obama said the punishment, for continuing to defy resolutions ordering it to suspend all enrichment of uranium, was an unmistakable message on stopping the spread of nuclear arms.

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the sanctions should be thrown in the dustbin like a "used handkerchief".

The US and its allies fear Iran is trying to build a nuclear bomb, but Tehran insists its nuclear programme is solely for peaceful purposes.

'Classified information'

In January, Tehran told the IAEA its scientists had carried out pyroprocessing experiments, a process which can be used to purify uranium for use in nuclear weapons, prompting a request from the agency for more information.

Start Quote

If an inspector makes a report contrary to the standing fact... we have the right to place a protest as we did in regard to the report by two inspectors”

End Quote Ali Akbar Salehi Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation

But it then backtracked in March and denied conducting such activities.

In May, IAEA experts visited the site of the alleged experiments in Tehran only to find an electrochemical cell had been "removed" from the unit used in them, according to the IAEA report released to the media later that month.

Iranian officials insist that they did not remove any equipment and that the experiments were not related to pyroprocessing.

"Iran last week announced that these two [inspectors] would not have the right to enter Iran due to submitting wrong... information as well as disclosing classified information before the proper official time," Mr Salehi was quoted as saying by the Isna news agency.

"Their report was utterly untruthful and... we asked that they would not ever send these two inspectors to Iran and instead assign two others," he added.

"If an inspector makes a report contrary to the standing fact... we have the right to place a protest as we did in regard to the report by two inspectors."

There was no immediate comment from the Vienna-based IAEA.

Correspondents say relations between Iran and the IAEA have become more strained since Yukiya Amano became the agency's director-general in December and took a tougher approach than his predecessor, Mohamed ElBaradei.

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