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U.N. Nuclear Watchdog Hits Back at Netanyahu on Iran: Declares ‘Our Independence Is Paramount’

Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, Yukiya Amano of Japan delivers a speech during the opening of the general conference of the IAEA, in Vienna, Austria, Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
AP Photo/Ronald Zak
SIMON KENT

The U.N. nuclear watchdog defended its independence Tuesday and declared it does not take intelligence presented to it at face value, in an apparent rebuff to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s revelations of a “secret atomic warehouse” in Iran.

“The agency sends inspectors to sites and locations only when needed. The agency uses all safeguards relevant to information available to it but it does not take any information at face value,” International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Yukiya Amano said in a statement.

“In order to maintain credibility, the agency’s independence in relation to the implementation of verification activities is of paramount importance,” he said.

“All information obtained, including from third parties, is subject to rigorous review and assessed together with other available information.”

Mr. Netanyahu made the claim against Iran during his address at the U.N. General Assembly last week. He called on the IAEA to act on his information about the facility immediately.

Speaking to the United Nations General Assembly, Netanyahu said Israeli spies had located “a secret atomic warehouse for storing massive amounts of equipment and material from Iran’s secret nuclear weapons programme,” proof, he asserted, that Iran had not ended its nuclear program.

“Iran has not abandoned its goal to develop nuclear weapons. … Rest assured that will not happen. What Iran hides, Israel will find,” he added.

For its part, the claims Iran harbours a secret atomic warehouse were roundly dismissed as an “arts & crafts show” by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Friday.

“How can Israel, as the only holder of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, so shamelessly accuse a country whose programmes have repeatedly been declared as peaceful by the IAEA,” the UN nuclear watchdog, Iran’s official IRNA news agency quoted Zarif as saying.

He said Israel and the United States stood “alone” and isolated globally, as “policies forced by Netanyahu on America” had driven them both to isolation.

Follow Simon Kent on Twitter: or e-mail to: skent@breitbart.com

 

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