U.S. Says UN Data Show Iran Is Working Toward Building Bomb

Iran missed an opportunity last week to begin clearing up what can “only plausibly” be called a nuclear-bomb program, said Laura Kennedy, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Conference on Disarmament.

International Atomic Energy Agency information “can only plausibly be described as building blocks for a nuclear-weapons program,” Kennedy said today in remarks directed toward Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi. “Just last week, Iran missed an opportunity to cooperate with the IAEA during the visit to Iran of the IAEA deputy director general for safeguards.”

Both she and Salehi attended a meeting at the Conference on Disarmament today in Geneva. Countries are trying to negotiate a new accord to restrict production of atomic-weapon material.

Iran doesn’t seek nuclear weapons, which are forbidden under a religious edict issued by the country’s Supreme LeaderAli Khamenei, Salehi said, according to a transcript of his speech at the meeting. The Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty is being interpreted in a discriminatory way against Iran, he said.

“I would like to re-emphasize that we do not see any glory, pride or power in nuclear weapons,” Salehi said. “Iran does not seek confrontation, nor does it want anything beyond its inalienable legitimate rights.”

IAEA officials returned from Iran on Feb. 22 and “couldn’t finalize a way forward,” chief inspector Herman Nackaerts said. The agency has been investigating possible nuclear-weapons work in Iran since 2003 and has presented evidence it called “credible” showing the Persian Gulf nation worked on components needed to build a weapon.

Iran insists that its atomic program is peaceful and says evidence presented against it is forged.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Tirone in Vienna at jtirone@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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