VIENNA -- Renewing its criticism of Iran's atomic agenda, Israel's delegate to the International Atomic Energy Agency accused Tehran yesterday of working secretly on nuclear weapons while pretending it does not want such arms, under a strategy of "deception, defiance and concealment."

Iran dismisses IAEA and international suspicions that it may have worked covertly on nuclear weapons and insists it has no interest in possessing such arms, saying its disputed uranium enrichment program is geared only toward generating nuclear fuel.

Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's chief IAEA delegate, said as much again yesterday without responding directly to Israeli delegate Ehud Azoulay, telling the agency's 35-nation board that all allegations to the contrary "are forged and baseless and our nuclear activities are exclusively for peaceful purposes."

But critics note that Iran has blocked the restart of an IAEA probe into its alleged secret weapons work for nearly five years, as well as refusing foreign offers of reactor fuel. It has instead expanded enrichment, and because the process can make both such fuel and the fissile material used to arm nuclear weapons, international concerns have grown about Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

Israel is particularly critical, noting that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for the eradication of Israel. It and the United States have not ruled out military strikes against the Islamic Republic if diplomacy fails to curb a nuclear program they see as a cover for making weapons.

While the comments from Israel were not new, they mirrored the high tensions that could result in such an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. Accusing Iran of "proceeding in [an] accelerated path towards acquiring nuclear weapons capability," Azoulay told the IAEA meeting that the Islamic Republic was employing a strategy of "deception, defiance and concealment," to gain time for developing such weapons.

NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano and Newsday food writer Marie Elena Martinez take a look at the hottest places to dine on Long Island this summer.  Credit: Randee Daddona; Newsday / A.J. Singh

A taste of summer on Long Island NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano and Newsday food writer Marie Elena Martinez take a look at the hottest places to dine on Long Island this summer. 

NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano and Newsday food writer Marie Elena Martinez take a look at the hottest places to dine on Long Island this summer.  Credit: Randee Daddona; Newsday / A.J. Singh

A taste of summer on Long Island NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano and Newsday food writer Marie Elena Martinez take a look at the hottest places to dine on Long Island this summer. 

Latest videos

YOU'VE BEEN SELECTED

FOR OUR BEST OFFER ONLY 25¢ for 5 months

Unlimited Digital Access.

cancel anytime.