A recently published report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Iran's nuclear program is neither professional nor objective, a top Russian official said on Saturday, criticizing a decision by the United Nations' nuclear watchdog to leak the report's findings to the press.
Earlier this month, the IAEA published a report that claimed that there was a high probability that Iran's nuclear program has military aspects, prompting Israel and the U.S. to urge the international community to toughen economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
On Friday, sources familiar with the matter said that the U.S. plans to sanction Iran's petrochemical industry, seeking to raise pressure on Iran after fresh allegations it may be pursuing nuclear weapons.
However, Russia and China voiced their opposition for any unilateral move against Iran, arguing that dialogue was the only way to resolve the nuclear standoff between Iran and the West.
In an address to the IAEA's Board of Governors in Vienna on Saturday, Russia's representative to the UN's nuclear watchdog Grigory Berdennikov said that it was "disappointing that in the context of the absence of convincing evidence there have begun assumptions and suspicions and juggling with information in order to produce an impression of some military component is present in Iran's nuclear program."
"Such an approach can hardly be called professional and impartial,” Berdennikov was quoted as saying by Russian news agency Itar-Tass.
In addition, the Russian envoy also attacked what he called the "alleged research" addendum to the IAEA report, saying that "even before the official circulation among the members of the IAEA Board of Governors it was leaked to the media and posted on the Internet."
"I would like to draw attention to the fact that the report was meant for ‘restricted distribution’, and hence, the decision on its publication could be taken only by the Board of Governors. As far as we know, the Board has made no such decisions," he was quoted by Itar-Tass as saying.
Berdennikov spoke of what he considered to be a "well-orchestrated media campaign" against Iran's nuclear program, "aimed at the further aggravation of the situation surrounding the Iranian nuclear program."
"We very much regret the IAEA has been drawn into the campaign. It is impossible not to see that this campaign over the director-general’s report plays into the hands of those forces that would like to obstruct a diplomatic solution of the Iranian issue to the maximum extent, and that the likelihood increases other means may be resorted to, which we have been consistently opposed to," Berdennikov added.
The Russian representative urged the IAEA to "conduct an official investigation into the unpleasant incident related to the publication of the report on Iran in the media, and to present the findings and measures taken to prevent similar cases in the future to the next session of the Board of Governors in March next year."
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