Washington, Sept. 20 – Iran has admitted lying to U.N. inspectors and Western countries about aspects of its nuclear program to confuse those trying to figure out what the Islamic Republic is really doing.
In an astounding revelation, Iran’s Vice President Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, who also is the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), told the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper, “We had no choice.”
“Sometimes we pretended to be weaker than we really were, and sometimes we showed strength that was not really in our hands,” Abbasi-Davani said in the interview.
He justified this behavior by saying that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, treated Iran as if it were developing nuclear weapons. In fact, the IAEA has painstakingly compiled evidence over many years that overwhelmingly demonstrates that Iran is doing exactly that.
“What is unacceptable is that the IAEA treats us as convicted felons having to prove their innocence. There are elements who accuse us and the IAEA is trying to prove these allegations,” said Abbas-Davani.
“We sometimes gave false information to protect our nuclear sites and our interests. This inevitablymisled other intelligence agencies,” he added.
IAEA chief Yukiya Amano met Abbasi-Davani on Monday. After the meeting, Amano said it was essential for Iran to cooperate with his inspectors to clarify concerns about military dimensions to its nuclear program. Iran has repeatedly refused to allow IAEA inspectors to visit key sites.
In another development, the U.S. House of Representatives has unanimously passed a bill to counter Iran’s growing presence and influence in Latin America. The bill, sponsored by South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan, was passed amid reports that Iran has established a Hezbollah terrorist training base in northern Nicaragua and that three suspected Hezbollah terrorists were arrested in Merida, Mexico last week.
According to a press release from Duncan, the bill among other things seeks to protect U.S. interests and assets in the Western Hemisphere such as embassies, consulates, businesses, energy pipelines and cultural organizations against possible threats and requires that energy supplies from the Western Hemisphere are free from the influence of any foreign government that would attempt to manipulate or disrupt global energy markets.
Duncan expressed hope that the Senate would pass the bill quickly so that it could be sent to President Obama to sign into law. This is the latest in a series of measures Congress has taken to tighten sanctions and increase pressure on Iran.
Despite these measures, Iran has press forward with its program and could now be just months away from having to ability to develop a nuclear weapon.