'N. Korea supplied Iran with nuclear computer software'

German paper reports that N. Korea delivered computer program developed in US that could help Tehran build nuclear weapons.

By REUTERS
August 24, 2011 22:15
2 minute read.
Iran's Ahmadinejad at Natanz nuclear facility

Iranian President Ahmadinejad at nuclear facility 311 (R). (photo credit: Ho New / Reuters)

 
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BERLIN - North Korea has supplied Iran with a computer program as part of intensified cooperation that could help Tehran build nuclear weapons, a German newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing Western intelligence sources.

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung said North Korea had in the spring delivered software, originally developed in the United States, that could simulate neutron flows.

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Such calculations, linked to identifying a chain reaction, are vital in the construction of reactors and also in the development of nuclear explosives.

With the help of the program, Iran could gain important knowledge of how to construct nuclear weapons, according to the Munich newspaper, which quoted no individual source.

A confidential UN report earlier this year said North Korea and Iran appeared to have been regularly exchanging ballistic missile technology in violation of UN sanctions.

On Tuesday, an Iranian envoy said a senior UN nuclear watchdog official visited all of Iran's main atomic sites during a rare five-day tour last week, saying this showed Tehran's "100 percent transparency and openness."

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But a Western diplomat in Vienna said the trip of Herman Nackaerts, deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to Iran "did nothing to lay to rest key concerns" about Tehran's nuclear programme.

"The Iranians proudly showed off many nuclear activities (that Iran carries out) in defiance of UN sanctions ... but stonewalled the IAEA on the scale and scope of the possible military dimensions of their program," the diplomat said.

The Sueddeutsche said the computer program, called Monte Carlo N-Particle Extended, or MCNPX 2.6.0., was used widely for civilian purposes but is subject to strict export controls because it can also be used to develop atomic bombs.

It is unclear how North Korea got hold of the software.

The paper said a North Korean delegation travelled to Iran in February to train 20 Defense Ministry staff in the software.

The IAEA has voiced growing concern in the last year about possible military dimensions to Tehran's nuclear program, saying it had received new information increasing such concerns.

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