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Israel accuses Iran of deception to buy time for atom work

JTA

September 18, 2013 | 9:05 am

Iranian President Hassan Rohani in Tehran on June 17. Photo by Fars News/Majid Hagdost/Reuters

Iranian President Hassan Rohani in Tehran on June 17. Photo by Fars News/Majid Hagdost/Reuters

Israel accused Iran on Wednesday of using "deception and concealment" to buy time for its nuclear program, signaling skepticism that the Islamic state's new government would agree to curb its atomic activities.

The election of a relative moderate, Hassan Rouhani, as new Iranian president has raised hopes of progress in long-stalled efforts to find a peaceful solution to the decade-old dispute over Tehran's nuclear program.

But the head of Israel's Atomic Energy Commission said: "The picture that the Iranian representatives are portraying regarding openness and transparency of their nuclear program ... stands in sharp contradiction with Iran's actual actions and the facts on the ground."

The key issue was not whether Iran has "nominated new envoys, modified its diplomatic vocabulary ... but whether it is addressing seriously and in a timely manner outstanding issues that have remained unresolved for too long," Shaul Chorev told the annual meeting of the U.N. nuclear agency.

"So far the window of serious engagement offered by the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and the international community has been grossly abused by Iran," he said.

Western powers and Israel accuse Iran of seeking to develop the capability to make nuclear weapons.

Iran says its program is entirely peaceful and says it is Israel, widely believed to be the Middle East's only nuclear-armed power, that threatens peace and security in the region.

Chorev accused Iran of "deception and concealment, creating a false impression about the status of its engagement with the agency ... with a view to buy more time in Iran's daily inching forward in every aspect of its nuclear military program".

Reporting by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Alison Williams

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