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WikiLeaks cable portrays IAEA chief as 'in US court' on Iran nuclear program

Iran could use the WikiLeaks revelation as another reason not to cooperate with the West on its nuclear program.

By Staff writer / December 2, 2010

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano prepares for a Board of Governors meeting at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Dec. 2.

Heinz-Peter Bader/Reuters

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Istanbul, Turkey

The chief of the UN nuclear agency, Yukiya Amano, called on Thursday for Iran to cooperate more to remove doubts about its nuclear intentions, as leaked US diplomatic cables portrayed him as “solidly in the US court” on Iran.

Just days before Iran is to sit down for nuclear talks with world powers in Geneva, Mr. Amano said Iran had yet to clarify “outstanding issues which give rise to concerns about possible military dimensions to its nuclear program, including by providing access to all sites, equipment, persons and documents requested by the agency.”

The remarks to the 35-nation governing board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna were in keeping with the tougher line taken on Iran by the UN agency since Mr. Amano became director general a year ago.

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But Iran may now see such criticism as part of a broader anti-Iranian slant, given a leaked American diplomatic cable from October 2009 that portrays Amano to be in lockstep with key aspects of US policy.

“It will give the Iranians another lever to apply in pursuance of a weapons-grade program,” says John Large, an independent nuclear expert in London. “For Iran, it really does mean that they don’t have a representative, they clearly don’t have the ear of anyone at the IAEA.”

Washington charges that Iran is using its nuclear power program to mask a weapons drive. The US has for years sought to undermine Tehran’s nuclear efforts, politically and covertly, while also repeatedly suggesting that US or Israeli military action was possible.

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