(AFP) – Aug 19, 2009
WASHINGTON — A senior US lawmaker charged Wednesday that the UN nuclear watchdog agency may be hiding evidence of Iran's alleged quest for atomic weapons and called for the information to be made public.
"Instead of preventing nuclear proliferation, it appears that an increasingly politicized IAEA may be concealing evidence of just that by the Iranian regime," said Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
"The IAEA must immediately release all evidence of Iran's nuclear activities," she said in a statement, referring to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The Florida lawmaker was responding to a report in Israel's Haaretz newspaper that Israel was accusing the UN nuclear weapons watchdog of holding back incriminating evidence of Iran's drive to obtain nuclear weapons.
The daily cited unnamed Israeli officials as saying the IAEA was refraining from publishing data obtained in recent months that indicates Iran was pursuing information about weaponization efforts and a military nuclear program.
IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei, who is to vacate his post in December, has said the UN watchdog does not have any evidence to back US and Israeli charges that Iran is developing a nuclear weapons program.
But Haaretz cited officials as saying the new evidence was presented to the IAEA in a classified annex written by its inspectors and said to have been signed by the head of the inspection team in Iran.
The document was not included in the final report, it said.
British, French, German and US senior officials have recently pressured ElBaradei to publish the information, the newspaper said.
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