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IAEA denies Fordow blast

Jan. 30, 2013 at 7:28 AM

VIENNA, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- The International Atomic Energy Agency has denied reports an explosion last week damaged the Iranian uranium enrichment site in Fordow.

"We understand that Iran has denied that there has been an incident at Fordow," the Israeli website Arutz Sheva Wednesday quoted IAEA spokeswoman Gill Tudor as saying. "This is consistent with our observations."

The right-wing U.S. website WND, formerly World Net Daily, first reported the explosion Friday, saying it had occurred deep inside the uranium enrichment facility Jan. 21, trapping 240 workers and causing damage. The report was based on information supplied by Hamidreza Zakeri, a former member of the Islamic Republic's Ministry of Intelligence and Security.

Reza Kahlili, an Iranian dissident-turned-CIA operative, told The Jerusalem Post the incident was "the largest case of sabotage in decades."

Iran called the reports "sheer lies," and labeled them propaganda.

"The false report about the explosion at Fordow installations is the West's propaganda stunt ahead of the nuclear negotiations to influence the trend and the outcome of talks," Press TV quoted Seyyed Shamseddin Barbroudi, the deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, as saying.

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