Sunday, May 27, 2018

U.N. nuclear agency reports failed Iran talks

VIENNA — The U.N. nuclear agency today acknowledged failure in trying to investigate suspicions that Iran has worked secretly on atomic arms, in a statement issued shortly after an Iranian general warned of a pre-emptive strike against any nation that threatens the country.

The double signs of defiance reflected continued Iranian determination not to bow to demands that it defuse suspicions about its nuclear activities despite rapidly growing international sanctions.

In a statement released today, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran refused a request for access to a site, Parchin, where the agency suspects explosives testing related to a nuclear weapon took place. The statement came after the IAEA team left Iran following a two-day visit.

As the visit was winding down, Iranian officials sought to cast it in a positive light, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast telling reporters that "cooperation with the agency continues and is at its best level."

Also Tuesday, Iranian Gen. Mohammed Hejazi, who heads the military's logistical wing, warned that his nation will "not wait for enemies to take action against us."

"We will use all our means to protect our national interests," he told the Fars news agency.

His comments followed the announcement of war games to practice protecting nuclear and other sensitive sites, the latest military maneuver viewed as a message to the United States and Israel that Iran is ready both to defend itself and to retaliate against an armed strike.

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