'Iran building int'l ties to gather nuclear material'

WikiLeaks: Over 350 Iranian organizations were involved in pursuing missile technology before financial collapse, Norwegian paper reveals.

THE BUSHEHR nuclear plant in southern Iran 311 (photo credit: AP)
THE BUSHEHR nuclear plant in southern Iran 311
(photo credit: AP)
OSLO, Norway — Despite a tightening net of sanctions, Iran has continued covert attempts to purchase technology for its controversial nuclear program through more than 350 companies, the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten reported Sunday.
Citing US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, Aftenposten reported that Iran has tried several times in 2008 and 2009 to buy uranium, computers and control systems required to run nuclear reactors.
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It said the country has also tried to buy centrifuges, milling machines and materials which can increase the range of Iranian missiles.
The cables come from a trove of 250,000 uncensored US diplomatic documents that WikiLeaks has been making public. Aftenposten said last month it had obtained all the documents.
The US and some of its allies accuse Iran of using its civil nuclear program as a cover to develop nuclear weapons capability. Teheran denies the accusation, saying its nuclear work is merely geared toward producing nuclear energy and isotopes to treat medical patients.
On Saturday, several international envoys — but crucially none from the world powers — got a look inside an Iranian nuclear site as part of a tour the Islamic Republic hopes will build support before a new round of talks on its disputed atomic activities Jan. 20-22.
According to Aftenposten, about 350 Iranian companies and organizations are involved in a pursuit to buy nuclear and missile technologies in violation of UN sanctions against the country's nuclear and missile program. The newspaper published a list of attempted purchases by Iran in more than 30 countries, including in the US, UK, China, India, and Germany.
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