US study: Iran research center had key role in atom work

By REUTERS
February 23, 2012 06:53

UNITED NATIONS - An Iranian research center that has been investigated by UN nuclear inspectors appears to have played a key role in Tehran's atomic program, which Western powers fear is aimed at producing weapons, according to a new report released on Wednesday.

The study by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) will likely cast further doubt on Tehran's denials that it is seeking atomic bombs as the UN nuclear agency prepares to publish a new report on Iran in the coming days.

Iran's Physics Research Center was established in 1989 "as part of an effort to create an undeclared nuclear program," according to ISIS's president David Albright, a nuclear expert and former inspector for the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as well as Andrea Stricker and Paul Brannan.

"Although Iran has admitted that the PHRC was related to the military and had a nuclear purpose in the area of defense preparedness and radiation detection, its actual nuclear role appears much more extensive," the ISIS report said.

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