Iran says IAEA report "politically motivated"

TEHRAN Tue Nov 8, 2011 3:28pm EST

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TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran rejected as "politically motivated" a report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog Tuesday in which the Islamic Republic was accused of working on developing an atomic bomb design, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

"The report of the International Atomic Energy Agency is unbalanced, unprofessional and politically motivated," Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's envoy to the IAEA, was quoted as saying.

The Vienna-based IAEA said the data "indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device."

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.

The United States and its allies are expected to seize on the report to press for more punitive sanctions on the major oil producer over its record of hiding sensitive nuclear activity and lack of full cooperation with U.N. inspectors.

Soltanieh said the IAEA report "did not contain any new issue."

"Despite Iran's readiness for negotiations, the IAEA published the report ... which will harm its reputation," Soltanieh said.

(Reporting by Zahra Hosseinian, Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Robert Woodward)

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