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Iran Says No Obligation To Answer Nuclear Watchdog's New Questions

Iranian Foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi, FILE PHOTO.

In reaction to recent questions raised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about Iran's nuclear program the Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Wednesday that Iran has no obligation to answer questions based on "empty claims".

The IAEA last week said Iran had denied its inspectors access to two sites in January. In a speech on March 9 to members of the IAEA’s board, Rafael Grossi, the Chief of IAEA, demanded access to locations suspected of secret activities in Iran’s nuclear program in the past. The locations possibly stored undeclared nuclear material or undertook nuclear-related activities without declaring it to international observers.

"The agency has identified a number of questions related to possible undeclared nuclear material and nuclear-related activities at three locations that have not been declared by Iran," Grossi said, according to his prepared remarks. “The agency sought access to two of the locations. Iran has not provided access to these locations and has not engaged in substantive discussions to clarify the agency's questions,” he said.

"Questions must be based on a legal and technical case and not some regimes' political games as Iran does not consider this right or constructive", Mousvai said on Wednesday in reference to Grossi's statement and the officials of the United States and Israel that have repeatedly called on the IAEA to pressure Iran to reveal its possible undeclared reserves of enriched uranium and explain about the particles that were detected at a warehouse on the outskirts of Tehran more than a year ago.

Israel has recently claimed that its intelligence services have new information on the alleged past nuclear projects and Iran has accused the U.S. and Israel of trying to "exert pressure on the agency" regarding its nuclear activities.

In a statement delivered to the IAEA Board of Governors in Vienna on March 11 Jackie Wolcott, the U.S. ambassador to the IAEA, stressed that Iran must cooperate fully to resolve the IAEA's concerns about possible undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran without further delay.

"In the face of Iran’s refusal to cooperate, it is clear Iran has left the Director General no option but to bring these urgent issues to the Board’s attention. A core responsibility we have as members of the Board is to review and respond to information reported to the Secretariat commensurate with its significance," the U.S. ambassador said in her address.

Diplomats say these were related to past projects of the 2000s that were alleged to have had a military dimension, and not to its current activities.

Reporting by AFP, DPA