No sign Iran seeks nuclear arms: new IAEA head

VIENNA Fri Jul 3, 2009 12:26pm EDT

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VIENNA (Reuters) - The incoming head of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog said Friday he did not see any hard evidence that Iran was trying to gain the ability to develop nuclear weapons.

"I don't see any evidence in IAEA official documents about this," Yukiya Amano told Reuters in his first direct comment on Iran's nuclear program since his election, when asked whether he believed Iran was seeking a nuclear weapons capability.

Current IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei told the BBC last month it was his "gut feeling" that Iran was seeking the ability to produce nuclear arms, if it desired, as an "insurance policy" against perceived threats from neighboring countries or the United States.

"I'm not going to be a "soft" director general or a "tough" director general," Amano told Reuters, when asked how he would approach issues like Iran and Syria, which are both subject to IAEA probes.

(Editing by Tim Pearce)

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