The U.N. nuclear agency says its experts again have failed to dent Iran's refusal to cooperate in probing allegations that Tehran covertly worked on an atomic arms program.
Iran refused a request for access to a site where the agency suspects explosives testing related to a nuclear weapon took place, according to a statement from theInternational Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Despite "intensive efforts," the statement said, no agreement was reached on how to relaunch the probe, which has been stalled for nearly four years.
The statement was released after the IAEA team left on a return flight to Vienna. The unusual timing — shortly after midnight Tuesday in Europe — reflected the urgency the IAEA attached to the communique.
Iran denies any interest in possessing nuclear weapons.
The IAEA's statement came just a few hours after a top Iranian general warned that the nation will pre-emptively strike anyone who threatens it.
The statement by Gen. Mohammed Hejazi continued the defiant tone Tehran has taken in its confrontation with Western countries that claim it is developing nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
"We do not wait for enemies to take action against us," said Hejazi, according to the semiofficial Fars news agency. "We will use all our means to protect our national interests."
Hejazi heads the military's logistical wing.
The United States and Israel have not ruled out strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities.
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