A report by the UN nuclear watchdog that accused Iran of doubling the number of uranium enrichment centrifuges it has in an underground bunker was politically motivated, an Iranian lawmaker said on Friday.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Thursday indicated that despite threat of an Israeli or U.S. military strike on Tehran's nuclear facilities, the Islamic Republic was rapidly increasing the enrichment capacity of its Fordow site, buried deep underground to withstand any such hit.
"Publishing this report while Iran is holding the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) meeting does not mean anything other than it was a political move aimed at overshadowing the meeting in Tehran," lawmaker Kazem Jalali told the ISNA news agency.
Major powers accuse Iran of trying to build bombs under cover of a civilian nuclear program. Tehran denies this, saying it needs nuclear technology to generate electricity.
"It seems that this report is a scenario for psychological warfare because Iran was able to show its authority and international position at the NAM summit," said Jalali, a member of parliament's national security and foreign affairs committee.
Iran has portrayed its hosting of the summit of the 120-nation group of developing nations as proof that Western efforts to isolate it for its disputed nuclear programme have failed.
The IAEA's quarterly report on Iran said buildings had been demolished and earth removed at a military site the agency wants to inspect, in what Western diplomats see as an effort by Tehran to remove any evidence of illicit nuclear-linked tests.
Based on the report, the number of centrifuges at Fordow, near the holy Shi'ite Muslim city of Qom, about 130 km from Tehran, had more than doubled to 2,140 from 1,064 in May. The new machines were not yet operating, it said.
Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Friday called for stronger sanctions against Iran following the IAEA report.
"Iran hasn't budged from its position. We need to strengthen sanctions and, at the same time, Iran must make a gesture," Fabius told Europe 1 radio.
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