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Iranian President Says UN Nuclear Watchdog Losing Credibility

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on a visit to Malaysia Friday, accused the United Nation's nuclear watchdog of being a tool of world powers. The president's attack on the credibility of the International Atomic Energy Agency comes ahead of crucial meetings in Vienna on Iran's controversial nuclear programs.

Just three days before the International Atomic Energy Agency board in Vienna is set to decide whether to bring the issue of Iran's nuclear activities to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions, Iran's President Ahmadinejad Friday blasted the I.A.E.A. during a visit to Kuala Lumpur.

He says international organizations like the U.N. atomic agency are being politically influenced by world powers from taking "fair" and "legally sound" decisions, especially when it comes to the Islamic republic.

The United States, the European Union and the IAEA. want Iran to cooperate with U.N. inspections and to suspend uranium enrichment, a key process in developing nuclear weapons.

But Iran has insisted it will not give up enrichment and what it says is its right to have a peaceful nuclear program.

In a report this week, IAEA. chief Mohamed ElBaradei said Iran had failed to answer key questions about its nuclear program after three years of U.N. investigations. He said the U.N. is not able to determine what Tehran's intentions are in terms of atomic weapons.

In order to avert a deepening crisis, Russia has offered to enrich uranium for Iran's energy reactors, thus lessening the chance Tehran could use spent fuel for nuclear weapons.

European Union leaders from Britain, France and Germany have been discussing the compromise plan with Iran's top negotiator - but there has been no agreement.

President Bush Thursday stressed that Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. He made the comment in New Delhi where he had just concluded an historic deal to share civilian nuclear technology and fuel with India. The agreement comes despite criticism that India has not signed the global Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Iran's president and foreign minister, who have been traveling to garner support for their nation's position, say this is an example of big power discrimination against the Islamic republic.

Iran signed the N.P.T. in 1970, and Mr. Ahmadinejad says it gives member states the right to have access to peaceful nuclear technology.