Iran Nuclear NewsIran protests over 'US nuclear spying': FM

Iran protests over ‘US nuclear spying’: FM

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AFP: Iran has issued a formal protest over the use of espionage by the United States to produce a key intelligence report on its controversial nuclear programme, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Saturday. TEHRAN (AFP) — Iran has issued a formal protest over the use of espionage by the United States to produce a key intelligence report on its controversial nuclear programme, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Saturday.

Mottaki said that Tehran had issued a protest to the Swiss embassy — which looks after US interests in the absence of an American mission — over a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) published on Monday.

“The day the report came out the foreign ministry sent a protest note to the Swiss embassy and demanded an explanation over the espionage that has taken place,” Mottaki was quoted as saying by the IRNA news agency.

The new US assessment said that that Iran halted a nuclear weapons programme in 2003, although it could still acquire the capability to make an atomic bomb by 2015.

US President George W. Bush has said that a “great discovery” as recently as August prompted the intelligence community’s reversal of his administration’s view that Iran had an active nuclear weapons programme.

Bush did not go into details, but the Washington Post reported that the new information included intercepts of conversations between Iranian military commanders.

Mottaki also vehemently denied the claim in the assessment that Iran was seeking to develop a nuclear weapon prior to 2003.

“In this US report there are accuracies and inaccuracies. The Americans have held onto this claim to save face,” he added.

The foreign minister also said a military attack on Iran by the United States — something that Bush has never ruled out — was impossible.

“Everybody involved in Iran’s nuclear case has reached the conclusion that the military option has been ruled out,” he said.

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