The former head of Iran’s atomic energy organization admitted in a recent interview to an Iranian paper that Tehran had lied to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Fereydoon Abbasi, who headed the Iranian agency under former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, also claimed the West had subverted the country’s nuclear program by selling sabotaged parts.
He told the Khorasan newspaper that at one point, Iran had stopped submitting the Design Information Questionnaire that the IAEA routinely requested to chart the planning and progress of the country’s nuclear facilities.
This decision, he said, had resulted from Iran’s concern that the information about which parts Iran was seeking was being transferred to Western intelligence agencies, which would then ensure that faulty or sabotaged parts were supplied.
“The IAEA inspector would honestly report, for instance, that a certain part or a certain pump had yet to arrive [in Iran], or to be installed,” he said, according to a translation of the interview by MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute.
“As a result, the intelligence agency receives this information [from the IAEA and then] searches the globe for companies that make the pump, and pressures them. They would pressure that country or company not to transfer the parts or equipment to Iran, or would allow them to do so [only] after sabotaging [the parts],” he said.
“For instance, if it was an electronic system, they would infect it with a virus, or plant explosives in it, or even alter the type of components, in order to paralyze [Iran’s] system.”
Abbasi claimed this was the way Western intelligence agencies had infected Iranian computers with the Stuxnet worm, which set back the country’s nuclear program for months.
He said that the intelligence agencies had closed Iran’s purchasing channels so that “no one [besides them] could sell us anything. [At the same time, they] opened the channels that they [personally] control, in order to provide Iran with equipment that would also benefit them. This, for example, [is how]... they got the Stuxnet virus [into Iran]. They planted it in equipment that Iran purchased.”
On the basis of the information that Iran provided the IAEA, he continued, “they knew how many centrifuges we intend to install, and what parts we need, and therefore they prevented this equipment [from getting to Iran] – for instance, a hollow pump that was supposed to be purchased from AEG. The company itself is [probably] not at fault – these intelligence agencies carry out the sabotage and then transfer the equipment to Iran via that [company].”
This was the reason, he said, that Iran had stopped providing information to the IAEA.
“[We] would give the DIQ [to the IAEA] but only after the fact [once nothing could be done about it – a move that violates the Non-Proliferation Treaty and IAEA regulations],” he said.
“When we wanted to move the Arak reactor’s main warehouse, we concealed it, so that [IAEA inspectors] would not notice which workshop [the activity was being conducted in], since they might have carried out assassinations or sabotage there.
[So] for several years we concealed the warehouse, so that that company could do its work.”
With negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program continuing, one Israeli government official said that Abbasi’s comments “should serve as a wake-up call to anyone who has any doubt about the duplicity and mendacity of the Iranian regime, and their desire to hoodwink the international community.”