Iran's nuclear chief attacks IAEA 'terrorists'

Iran's nuclear chief said yesterday that "terrorists and saboteurs" may have infiltrated the International Atomic Energy Agency in an effort to derail his nation's atomic programme, in an unprecedentedly harsh attack on the integrity of the UN organisation.

Fereydoun Abbasi also rebuked the United States in comments to the IAEA's 155-nation general conference, reflecting Iran's determination to continue defying international pressure.

The speech was bound to give a greater voice to hardline Israeli leaders who say that diplomatic efforts and economic penalties have failed to move Iran, leaving military strikes as the only alternative to stopping it from developing nuclear weapons.