VIENNA — The U.N. nuclear watchdog has shown its members documents and photographs suggesting that Iran secretly tried to modify a missile cone to carry a nuclear bomb, diplomats said.
Diplomats who attended a special briefing Tuesday said the International Atomic Energy Agency's head of inspections in the Middle East, Herman Naeckerts, had shown them new proof indicating that Iran tried to refit the long-distance Shahab-3 missile to carry a nuclear payload.
The U.S. envoy to the IAEA, Gregory Schulte, said Naeckerts showed photos and diagrams of Iranian work on re-designing a Shabab-3 "to carry what would appear to be a nuclear weapon.
"The Secretariat told us the information they have is, in their words, 'very credible', unquote, and they have asked Iran to provide 'substantive responses', unquote", Schulte said.
Iran has refused IAEA requests to interview engineers involved in the work and visit their ostensibly civilian workshops.
For its part, Iran continued to assert that the intelligence was forged.
Iranian ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh complained Tehran was being pressured to disprove the allegations by revealing information vital to its national security.
"No country would give information about its conventional military activities," he said.
"I said in this briefing: 'Who in the world would believe there are a series of top secret documents US intelligence found on a laptop regarding a Manhattan Project-type nuclear (bomb programme) in Iran and none of these documents bore seals of 'high confidential' or 'secret'?" he said.
"This matter is over, as far as we are concerned."