IAEA claims Iran delivery is for 'cancer therapy project'

After 'The Jerusalem Post' reported atomic agency broke EU sanctions, IAEA says helium-leak detector was for medical project approved in 2007.

October 10, 2010 02:38
2 minute read.
Director General of the International Atomic Energ

Amano IAEA 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)


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BERLIN – After The Jerusalem Post first reported Friday on the International Atomic Energy Agency’s role in the delivery of illicit nuclear equipment to Iran, the IAEA responded by saying the device was for a medical project.

“We’ve issued a statement on this issue” on the IAEA website and the “statement confirms that this was equipment for a cancer therapy project,” an IAEA spokesman wrote the Post by e-mail on Friday.

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When asked why the IAEA ordered the equipment even though it is illegal under EU law to supply such a device to Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, the IAEA spokesman wrote: “Sorry, can’t add more.

I would, however, caution against assuming that the equipment is from the Netherlands, which is a major transportation hub.”

The IAEA website’s Press Room responded to the Post report under the headline “IAEA on news report on equipment purchase for Iran.”

The Post obtained a copy of a letter written by Dutch Economic Affairs Minister Maria van der Hoeven last week which stated: “That shipment contained a helium-leak detector, which was ordered by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in line with its technical cooperation program with Iran, [but] was shipped to a banned recipient (AEOI).”

The Atomic Energy Organization oversees Iran’s nuclear proliferation program.

According to the IAEA website statement, IAEA Press Officer Ayhan Evrensel wrote, “The IAEA has ordered a helium- leak detector for a cancer-related project it is running in Iran. This project is called ‘Production, Development and Application of Radiation Sources and Radiopharmaceuticals for Radiotherapy and Targeted Cancer Therapy.’” Evrensel added that “The objective of this technical cooperation project (IRA/2/008) is to prepare therapeutic sources, radiocolloid particles and radiopharmaceuticals for cancer treatment, and it was approved by the IAEA Board of Governors in 2007.”

The Dutch authorities jump-started an investigation to determine if the exporter of the helium-leak detector and pressure meter equipment for Iran’s sanctioned gas and oil sector faces criminal penalties.

An IAEA spokesman declined to comment on whether the helium-leak detector has a military application, and whether the IAEA had asked that Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization return the device to the IAEA’s Vienna- based headquarters.

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