'Foreign scientists helping Iran reach nuclear capability'

Former Soviet scientists aided Tehran in developing detonators for nuclear chain reaction, 'Washington Post' reports.

November 7, 2011 05:26
2 minute read.
Suspected uranium-enrichment facility near Qom

Iranian nuclear program 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)

Iran received training from foreign scientists in order to develop the capability to build a nuclear weapon, the Washington Post reported Sunday.

According to the report, which was published days before the UN nuclear watchdog was expected to release findings on the Tehran's nuclear ambitions, "Western diplomats and nuclear experts" said the International Atomic Energy Agency received intelligence that former Soviet scientists taught the Iranians to construct the kind of "high-precision detonators" that can be used to "trigger a nuclear chain reaction."

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Scientists from Pakistan, a US ally, and North Korea also aided Iran in developing its nuclear program. The evidence also points out that Iran received this foreign assistance since 2003, when US intelligence said that Tehran buckled to international pressures and ceased to work on the technology for a nuclear bomb.

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Sources briefed on the document disclosed over the weekend that the IAEA report will also support allegations that Iran built a large steel container for carrying out tests with high explosives that could be used in nuclear weapons,

The IAEA obtained satellite pictures of the container at Parchin, near Tehran, and other evidence that lent credence to allegations by IAEA member states that the installation was intended for nuclear-related explosives testing, the sources said.

The IAEA will also reveal evidence that Iran carried out computer modeling of a nuclear weapon, one source said.

Western diplomats said the eagerly-awaited report will strengthen suspicions that Tehran is seeking to develop the capability to make atomic bombs, but stop short of explicitly saying it is doing so.

On Saturday, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi denied any links between the country’s missile testing and its nuclear program, saying any document that connects the two is “baseless and non-authentic,” Iran’s FARS News Agency reported.

The Iranian foreign minister went on to say that if the IAEA were to release these documents, it would only prove that the nuclear watchdog was under pressure from “Western powers.”

Iran blasted the US and Israel on Saturday for their reported plans to attack the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program, urging the international community – including the United Nations – to condemn the two nations for their combative remarks.

Iranian Ambassador to Uruguay Hojjatollah Soltani said that such threats were a gross violation of international law.

“The UN, by condemning Israel and the US, will have to prove to all that the world belongs to all countries and nations, and is not in the hands of only a few states,” Channel 10 quoted Sultani as saying.

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