IAEA has evidence of Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons

ByJERUSALEM POST STAFF, REUTERS
November 6, 2011 01:36

Report says Tehran built large steel container for carrying out tests of nuclear devices, carried out computer modeling of a bombs.

Suspected uranium-enrichment facility near Qom

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

A report by the UN nuclear watchdog this week will support allegations that Iran built a large steel container for carrying out tests with high explosives that could be used in nuclear weapons, sources briefed on the document disclosed over the weekend.

The International Atomic Energy Agency 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.



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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 intentional 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.

President Shimon Peres on Friday said that he believes Israel is closer to employing the military option in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program than it is to finding a diplomatic solution to the threat.

In an interview with Channel 2, the president suggested that the media speculation about a possible attack on Iran may have some basis in truth.

“Intelligence services in many countries are looking at the clock and warning their leaders that not much time remains,” he said. “I do not know if these world leaders will act on this advice.”

Iran could be as close as six months from becoming nuclear armed, and it is Israel’s role to warn the world of the danger, Peres said. He suggested that the speculation about an attack on Iran may be a way of reminding the world of the Iranian threat.

“Iran is nearing atomic weapons and in the time left we must turn to the world’s nations and demand [they] fulfill their promise... which is not merely passing sanctions. What needs to be done must be done, and there is a long list of options.”

Earlier on Friday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel’s position on Iran has not changed, despite recent Israeli media reports of a possible strike.

“I propose we wait and see the IAEA report,” Barak said, adding that he believes that if the UN nuclear watchdog will be “daring enough to say bluntly what they know about [Iran’s] nuclear program,” the world will understand the Iranian threat is international.

Speaking in an interview with Stephen Sakur of the BBC, the defense minister repeated Israel’s position that Iran must be prevented from obtaining nuclear weapons, and that no options should be taken off the table to that end.

A senior military official told CNN on Friday that the United States fears that Israel may be preparing a strike on Iran.

The US was “absolutely” concerned about a potential Israeli attack, and the US military was “increasingly vigilant” of activities in both Israel and Iran that could indicate military intentions, the senior official said.

The official also said that while the US had no intention of striking Iran, it was uncertain that Israel would inform America of its intentions, should it choose to take out Iran’s nuclear facilities. Such an operation would be difficult, the official said, because Iran has “top notch” air defenses.

A senior US military official said on Friday that Iran had become the biggest threat to the US.

“The biggest threat to the United States and to our interests and to our friends... has come into focus and it’s Iran,” the official said, addressing a forum in Washington. Reporters were allowed to cover the event on condition the official not be identified.

The official said he did not believe Iran wanted to provoke a conflict and that he did not know if the Islamic state had decided to build a nuclear weapon.

In Tehran, thousands of students burned US flags and pictures of President Barack Obama in a rally marking the anniversary of the 1979 seizure of the US Embassy.

President Nicolas Sarkozy, speaking at a G20 summit of world leaders in France, said, “Iran’s behavior and this obsessional desire to acquire nuclear military [capability] is in violation of all international rules... If Israel’s existence were threatened, France would not stand idly by.”
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