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Iran rejects reports of IAEA finding traces of uranium at unnamed site

Iran rejects reports of IAEA finding traces of uranium at unnamed site
FILE PHOTO: An Iranian flag flutters in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo -
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Leonhard Foeger(Reuters)
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DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday rejected as a “trap” reports that the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.‘s nuclear watchdog, found traces of uranium at an Iranian site that Israel called a “secret atomic warehouse”.

Two months after Reuters first reported that samples taken at the site had shown traces of uranium, the IAEA on Wednesday told member states at a closed-door briefing that it had found uranium traces at a site in Iran it did not name, but diplomats at the meeting said it was clearly the same place.

“The Zionist regime and Israel are attempting to re-open … this file,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in remarks carried on state television.

“We have announced that this is a trap,” Mousavi said.

“Hopefully the IAEA will maintain its vigilance.”

The IAEA confirmed to member states that the traces from samples taken in February were of uranium that was processed but not enriched, and that the explanations provided by Iran so far did not hold water, diplomats said.

In 2018, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who vehemently opposed Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, called on the IAEA to visit the site immediately, saying it had housed 15 kg (33 lb) of unspecified radioactive material that had since been removed.

(Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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