France rejects Iran nuke claims

OPPOSITE EVIDENCE: French defence Minister Herve Morin. Pic. Susan Baaghil. 28/10/07. © Reuters.
OPPOSITE EVIDENCE: French defence Minister Herve Morin. Pic. Susan Baaghil. 28/10/07. © Reuters.

ABU DHABI - French Defence Minister Herve Morin yesterday dismissed comments by the head of the UN atomic watchdog that there was no evidence Iran is building nuclear weapons, saying Paris has evidence to the contrary.

ABU DHABI - French Defence Minister Herve Morin yesterday dismissed comments by the head of the UN atomic watchdog that there was no evidence Iran is building nuclear weapons, saying Paris has evidence to the contrary.

"Our information, matching those of other countries, gives us the opposite feeling," Morin told a news conference in Abu Dhabi at the end of a short visit to the United Arab Emirates.

Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the UN atomic watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said in an interview with CNN on Sunday that he had no evidence that Iran was building nuclear weapons and accused US leaders of adding "fuel to the fire" with their bellicose rhetoric.

"I have not received any information that there is a concrete active nuclear weapons programme going on right now," said ElBaradei.

Morin said: "If ElBaradei is right, then there is no reason for Iran to refuse to authorise IAEA inspection" of its installations. "What is hindering such inspection if Iran's nuclear programme is strictly for civilian purposes."

Meanwhile, the IAEA's deputy director-general Olli Heinonen arrived in Tehran yesterday for three days of discussions with Iranian nuclear officials. - Sapa-AFP

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