Iran, Israel Clash at IAEA Conference

VIENNA, Austria (AP) - Israel accused Iran of lying Friday while Tehran challenged the international community to send U.N. inspectors to probe its arch-rival's nuclear capabilities, in a rare and unusually bitter direct confrontation.

U.N. officials at a 148-nation meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency said they had no memory of the two hostile nations ever engaging each other directly at previous meetings and said that development - and the unusually harsh tone of their statements - in part reflected Middle East tensions.

On Thursday, the conference criticized Israel for refusing to put its nuclear program under international purview, with the United States alone in supporting the Jewish state.

Israel also voted against the resolution, while 53 nations backed it and 47 abstained. The remaining nations were absent for the highly unusual vote - only the second in the 16 years the issue has been on the agenda of the IAEA conference.

On Friday, a resolution that in part sought to expand IAEA powers to prevent nuclear proliferation passed by a comfortable margin, though Iran was among the nonaligned states voting against it.

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