VIENNA, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed Wednesday it has received an intelligence report that said Iran was planning to clandestinely import purified uranium ore from Kazakhstan.
The authenticity of the report was yet to be confirmed, an IAEA official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
The agency was now examining the report to find out details of negotiations between Iran and Kazakhstan, he said, declining to provide any further information.
Such imports are clear violations of U.N. Security Council sanctions imposed on Iran in 2006 over its nuclear program.
Local media said the intelligence report showed that Iran intended to import 1,350 tons of purified uranium ore from Kazakhstan. The deal could be done within the next few weeks, and Iran was willing to pay 315 million euros (about 453 million U.S. dollars) for the shipment.
Iran, which is under three sets of U.N. Security Council sanctions for refusing to freeze its enrichment program and related activities that could be used to make nuclear weapons, has denied the reports.
"Such fabrications of news are part of the psychological warfare (against Iran) to serve the political interests of the hegemonic powers," Iran's representative at the United Nations said in a statement.
Tehran maintains that it wants to enrich uranium only to fuel an envisaged network of power reactors.
Kazakhstan, among the world's top three producers of uranium, accounting for more than 8,500 tons last year, also denied the reports.
"Everything Kazakhstan does in the uranium industry is done in accordance with the IAEA standards and under the control of this organization," said Yerzhan Ashykbayev, Kazakhstan's Foreign Ministry spokesman.
Uranium ore, also known as "yellow cake," can be enriched to use as fuel for reactors or in nuclear weapons.
MOSCOW, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- Russia has no proof of Tehran's alleged intention to create nuclear weapons, says a Russian diplomat.
"We have no reason to believe that Iran plans to move in this direction (developing nuclear weapons)," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told Russia Today on Tuesday, adding that "without serious proof (of this), it is irresponsible to pose such accusations." Full story
TEHRAN, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Tuesday that the country would produce high-level nuclear fuel for its research reactor if Western countries refuse to provide the supply, the satellite Press TV reported.
"We set the time (for the West) to make a decision about supplying the fuel needed for the Tehran research reactor," Mottaki said in a press conference. Full story
JERUSALEM, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Monday that Iran's newly-disclosed nuclear facility near Qom can withstand regular bombs.
"The facility in Qom is in a bunker and therefore resistant to regular bombs," local daily Haaretz quoted Barak as speaking to the Knesset (Israeli parliament) Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Full story