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Iran says spies masquerading as U.N. inspectors

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran's top intelligence official on Saturday accused the International Atomic Energy Agency of sending spies disguised as inspectors to the Islamic republic's most sensitive atomic sites.

"Unfortunately, there are spies among the agency's inspectors," Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi said, according to the semiofficial Iranian Students News Agency.

Moslehi also suggested that the agency was partly responsible for a car bomb attack that killed a prominent nuclear scientist on Monday in Tehran.

Another scientist, who is mentioned first on a list of Iranians prohibited from traveling outside the country under U.N. sanctions, was wounded in a simultaneous attack.

"The United Nations should also be held accountable because the names of our scientists have been disclosed as a result of the sanctions and now our enemies are after them," Moslehi said, alleging that U.S., Israeli and British intelligence services were behind the attacks.

Iranian officials have grown increasingly irritated with the inspectors ahead of talks about the country's nuclear program that begin Monday in Geneva.

Last week, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused "enemies" of temporarily sabotaging Iran's enrichment program by "making problems for a limited number of our centrifuges, with software they had installed in electronic devices."

The IAEA has two inspectors in Iran at all times and regularly sends in teams that monitor nuclear facilities to ensure that no nuclear material is diverted for making nuclear bombs. Iran's known enrichment sites are under permanent camera surveillance, as is a Russian-built nuclear power plant in Bushehr.

Iran has long complained that inspectors for the Vienna-based U.N. nuclear watchdog have shared information with the United States and other nations that Iran views as enemies.

Under international agreements, Iran is allowed to block individual inspectors from working in the country. In June, Iran barred two inspectors after accusing them of publishing "untruthful" reports and disclosing classified information.

Iran says spies masquerading as U.N. inspectors 12/04/10 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 1:27pm]
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