UN watchdog confirms Irans denial of explosion at its Fordo nuclear plant

e U.N. atomic watchdog made clear on Tuesday it had seen no sign of any explosion at one of Iran's most sensitive nuclear plants, backing up Tehran's denial that such an incident hadn't taken place last week.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in an unusual move, made a brief statement following media reports at the weekend of significant damage at the underground Fordo uranium enrichment site.

IAEA inspectors regularly visit Iranian nuclear sites, including the one at Fordo, and the U.N. agency suggested in its comment that they had been at the site after the reports were published in some Israeli and Western media.

"We understand that Iran has denied that there has been an incident at Fordo. This is consistent with our observations," IAEA spomkeswoman Gill Tudor said in an emailed comment in response to a question.

In late 2011 the plant at Fordo began producing uranium, enriched to 20 percent fissile purity, compared with the 3.5 percent level needed for nuclear energy plants.

The West says this takes Iran a significant step closer to producing weapons-grade material. Iran says its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful. SHOW MORE

Last Update: Tuesday, 29 January 2013 KSA 21:04 - GMT 18:04
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