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 Post subject: IAEA lists Iran's suspect nuclear work
PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 2:01 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2006 4:13 pm
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Location: South Australia
IAEA lists Iran's suspect nuclear work
Correspondents in Vienna and Tehran
February 02, 2006
IRAN has handed over to the International Atomic Energy Agency a document whose only use would be in making nuclear weapons parts, the IAEA says in a confidential report.

The report, to be tabled at an emergency meeting of the agency today, indicates several areas where Tehran is suspected of doing atomic work that could be related to military uses.

And it confirms that Iran has begun research relating to enriching uranium as Tehran prepares to make fuel for nuclear energy that could also be used as atom bomb material.

The report came after the US, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia agreed they would vote at the IAEA today for Iran's case to be sent to the UN.

Tehran immediately hit back, with its chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani warning that referral to the UN would mean "the end of diplomacy".

He said Iran would halt all co-operation with UN nuclear inspectors and threatened to resume uranium enrichment, the most controversial part of Tehran's atomic program.

Mr Larijani also made a veiled threat to retaliate in the Middle East against the interests of those countries taking action against Iran.

"If these countries use all their means ... to put pressure on Iran, Iran will use its capacity in the region," he said.

There were fears Iran could mobilise its militant allies, particularly the Shia Muslim militias in Iraq and Lebanon and militant Islamic groups in the Palestinian territories, to take action against the West.

The IAEA report, by director of safeguards Olli Heinonen, shows Iran is refusing to give agency inspectors all the information or interviews they want, despite having co-operated by allowing a visit to the former Lavizan military site in Tehran.

The report says the 15-page Iranian document describes "the procedures for the reduction of UF6 (uranium hexafluoride gas) to metal in small quantities, and the casting of enriched and depleted uranium metal into hemispheres, related to the fabrication of nuclear weapons components".

Iran claims not to have used the information for weapons work. It says it was given the document without asking for it by an international nuclear smuggling network that offered Tehran technology and parts in 1987 and the mid-90s.

The report says the information on making uranium metal hemispheres, which would be the central pits of atomic bombs, "did not, however, include dimensions or other specifications for machined pieces for such components".

Mr Heinonen's report says the IAEA still needs more information on Iran's contacts with the nuclear black market run by disgraced Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, including the timing and purpose of certain trips taken by Iranian nuclear officials in the mid-90s.

The IAEA says it has "shared with Iran" new information it has that Tehran may have taken deliveries of sophisticated P-2 centrifuges, despite Tehran saying this is not true.

Centrifuges enrich uranium into what can be fuel for nuclear power reactors or used as atom bomb material.

Iran says its nuclear program is simply a peaceful effort to generate electricity, but the US claims this is a cover for secret development of atomic weapons.

Diplomats said the IAEA had been given US intelligence on alleged P-2 deliveries as well as on alleged Iranian work in adapting missiles to carry payloads for nuclear weapons and on studies to build a uranium conversion site that might have military purposes rather than civilian uses.

Iran has co-operated in some areas but declined to let Mr Heinonen interview the head of the military Physics Research Centre, which was at Lavizan before it was demolished by Iranian authorities in 2003 after suspicions were raised about it.

Iran has told the IAEA it has begun research relating to enriching uranium.

The work began after Tehran removed seals on enrichment equipment and supplies on January 10, in defiance of an agreement with the European Union to suspend all work on nuclear fuel.

The IAEA says the removal of the seals means it can no longer fully monitor Iranian work.

AFP


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