Iran accuses UN nuclear watchdog chief of partiality

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Iran's nuclear programme chief Ali Akbar Salehi has accused the head of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency of partiality, in an interview in the German weekly Der Spiegel.

"Mr (Yukiya) Amano should be careful to not lose his legitimacy due to his partiality in favour of a certain politics," said Salehi in the edition of Spiegel to appear Monday.

"We will not accept this tone," he said, describing his comments as a "friendly but serious warning" that Iran would not let itself be instrumentalised.

Salehi also speculated over whether the IAEA chief was looking for a pretext against Iran to launch an attack, and reminded that his predecessor, Mohamed ElBaradei, received the Nobel Peace Prize for his "neutral" attitude.

"Does Mr Amano want to associate his name with a war? Does Mr Amano want a catastrophe?" he asked.

In June last year, Iran barred two UN inspectors from entering the country, accusing them of filing a "false" report about Tehran's nuclear programme and leaking information regarding its atomic work.

Japan's Yukija Amano took over from Egypt's ElBaradei as head of the IAEA in December 2009.

In June the UN Security Council approved a fourth round of sanctions against the Islamic republic.

© 2010 AFP

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