UN says it has new info on alleged Iran nuclear arms

IAEA report says new intelligence strengthens suspicions of nuclear weapons program experiments in the Islamic Republic.

February 25, 2011 20:34
2 minute read.
Ahmadinjead inspects an Iranian nuclear power plant

Nuclear Power plant 311 AP. (photo credit: Associated Press)


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VIENNA— The UN nuclear monitoring agency said Friday that "recently received" information is adding to concerns Iran may have worked on developing nuclear arms.

At the same time, a report by the organization — The International Atomic Energy Agency — noted that Tehran continues to stonewall its attempts to follow up on that information, which points to possible experiments with components of a nuclear arms program.

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An annex to the confidential report listed "the outstanding issues which give rise to concern about possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear programme." It included design work on a nuclear payload; experiments with explosives that could detonate such a payload and other work that could be linked to making weapons.

The list contained no new information, with much of its contents based on material that first surfaced seven years ago on a laptop United States intelligence agencies say was spirited out of Iran by a defector. A senior international diplomat familiar with the report said it was annexed to summarize suspicions for the 35-IAEA board member nations the report was meant for.

Still, the listing was unusual. Part of a longer annex of "areas where Iran is not meeting its (international) obligations," it also appeared to reflect IAEA frustrations that Iran has rejected its attempts to follow up on the allegations since August 2008.

New intelligence continues to come in to the agency strengthening those suspicions, despite Tehran's stonewalling, said the report, obtained by The Associated Press.

"Based on the agency's analysis of additional information since August 2008, including new information recently received, there are further concerns which the agency also needs to clarify with Iran," said the report, which was also sent to the UN Security Council.

Tehran is under four sets of UN sanctions for its refusal to stop uranium enrichment — which can create both nuclear fuel and fissile warhead material — and other instances of nuclear defiance. It insists its program is peaceful and meant only to power a future generation of reactors.

While the report did not specify how recent its new information was on possible weapons programs experiments, a senior international official familiar with Iran's nuclear program said the agency received fresh intelligence within the last three months. He asked for anonymity because his information was confidential.

"Iran is not implementing a number of its obligations including ... clarification of the remaining outstanding issues which give rise to concerns about possible military dimensions to its nuclear programme," said the report.

"Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation to enable the Agency to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities."

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