DUBAI Aug 31 A report by the U.N. 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
"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 programme. 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
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 (80
miles) from Tehran, had more than doubled to 2,140 from 1,064 in
May. The new machines were not yet operating, it said.
During his speech at the NAM summit on Thursday, Iran's
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran's nuclear
programme was entirely peaceful. "Our motto is nuclear energy
for all and nuclear weapons for none," he said.
But the expansion in enrichment infrastructure and the
stockpiles of nuclear material revealed in the IAEA's report
will do nothing to ease international concerns or reduce the
diplomatic and sanctions pressure on Iran.
Iran has threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, conduit
for more than a third of the world's sea-borne oil trade, in
response to increasingly harsh sanctions by the United States
and its allies intended to force it to curb its nuclear work.