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As of January 2009, this site is definitely closed, but you can follow Safa Haeri on his new blog: DAMAVAND at http://wwwdamavandsafa.blogspot.com

IAEA ACCUSES IRAN OF HIDING ITS REAL NUCLEAR AIMS

Published Wednesday, June 2, 2004



VIENNA 2 June (IPS) Officials from the Islamic Republic of Iran rejected a new report from the international atomic watchdog accusing bluntly the Iranian regime of “repeatedly” holding up details about its controversial nuclear program.

In a report obtained by several newspapers and news agencies, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) also said Iran, despite pledges, continue enriching uranium with more advanced equipments and technology.

United Nations nuclear inspectors who found more traces in Iran of highly enriched uranium admitted Wednesday that it could be bomb-grade.

The report published by the press on first of June raises new questions about Iran's intentions and appears certain to persuade the agency's board of governors not to end intrusive inspections when it meets later this month, experts said.

The 20-page document is the third consecutive quarterly report to raise significant doubts about Iran's performance. It comes as the Bush administration, which has pledged to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, struggles to curb a proven atomic weapons program in North Korea.

The 20-page document is the third consecutive quarterly report to raise significant doubts about Iran's performance.

The document provides support for Bush administration officials who contend that Iran is hiding an atomic weapons program behind an insistence that the goal is nuclear energy.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Washington's view was "borne out by the facts."

It is also to help bringing the European Union closer to the American position, as Britain, France and Germany are reported to be “very frustrated” by the ambiguous and non convincing attitude of the Iranian officials.

Last year on October, foreign affairs ministers from the three nations went to Tehran and clinched an agreement with Hojjatoleslam Hasan Rohani, the secretary of Supreme Council on National Security to have Tehran signing the additional protocol to the Non Proliferation Treaty and suspend enriching uranium.

But they found out latter that not only Iran had continued enriching uranium, but has used more advanced equipments, like the P-2 centrifuges

"This report shows that Iran's nuclear case is approaching the end and there are no more important issues", Mr. Rohani told a news conference, referring to the IAEA report.

Indeed, Iran made such fast progress in assembling and testing advanced P-2 centrifuge equipment that IAEA experts expressed doubts about Iranian assertions that the project lay dormant for six years after scientists first acquired designs in 1995.

He said the U.N. nuclear watchdog was welcome to continue inspections, although Iran had earlier asked for inspectors to finish their work by June.

Rohani added that Iran had bought no parts from abroad for "P2" centrifuges that can produce bomb-grade uranium twice as fast as earlier "P1" types.

The IAEA said Iran had made inquiries through a European intermediary to buy magnets for P2 centrifuges. The machines cannot enrich uranium without these magnets.

Rohani, however, said these were for the earlier P1 type and for other industrial uses.

"We are insisting we have not bought P2 parts from abroad," he told reporters.

Indeed, Iran made such fast progress in assembling and testing advanced P-2 centrifuge equipment that IAEA experts expressed doubts about Iranian assertions that the project lay dormant for six years after scientists first acquired designs in 1995.

"It's absolutely full of unanswered questions and things that don't compute," said a U.S. official, who requested anonymity. "It's a strong argument for the need to continue the investigation."

Last week, Iran submitted to the IAEA a 1000 pages report that it said was containing “all and even more” information and details about Iranian nuclear activities, but the Vienna-based IAEA cited a wide array of missing details and contradictory explanations in a confidential report to board members yesterday.

Questioned further on the basis of new IAEA information, Iranian officials also admitted that an Iranian company had contacted a European intermediary about buying 4,000 magnets for sophisticated P-2 gas centrifuges -- enough for 2,000 machines, more than needed for simple research.

Iran has also admitted to importing parts for sophisticated P-2 centrifuges, which can enrich uranium to bomb-grade levels, going back on claims that it had made the parts domestically, according to a confidential report by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohammad El-Barade’i, which was obtained by AFP.

However, El-Barade’i's report praised the Iranians for "cooperating in providing access to locations in response to agency requests, including workshops situated at military sites."

Much of the report's focus is on previous Iranian statements and contradictory new information produced by Iran voluntarily or under pressure. In another case, the Iranian government told U.N. inspectors that rotors for gas centrifuges were manufactured by a private company in Tehran when, in fact, they were built at an Iranian defence industry site, the IAEA said.

While Iran has insisted its P-2 is a research program, the IAEA said Iran had asked through a European intermediary about the possibility of buying 4,000 special magnets, or enough for 2,000 centrifuges.

Nuclear expert David Albright told AFP from Washington that Iran's "centrifuge story just doesn't hold up".

He said the numbers made it look like Iran rather than doing research was seeking "to go into serial production." Highly enriched uranium (HEU) can be nuclear fuel or the explosive in an atom bomb.

Particles of 36-percent HEU found at Farayand, a new site after IAEA inspectors last year detected such particles at the Kalaye Electric Company in Tehran, leave the IAEA unable to confirm Iran's claims the contamination was from imported equipment, probably from Pakistan, rather than a sign the Iranians may have been trying to enrich uranium on their own.

"This means they're probably lying about the origin of that 36 percent enriched uranium," a Western diplomat close to the IAEA said.

Iran must clear up these questions about uranium contamination and centrifuges if the international community is to believe Iran's claims its nuclear program is strictly peaceful, the IAEA said ahead of a June 14 meeting of its 35-nation board of governors.

The United States has called for the IAEA, which has been investigating the Iranian program since February 2003 after being alerted to it in August 2002, to refer the Islamic Republic to the UN Security Council for possible international sanctions.

Diplomats said the IAEA will not be able to reach a decision on Iran in June since Tehran has delayed inspections and only last month submitted a report on its program which the agency will need months to evaluate.

But the report also said that three workshops in Iran are continuing to produce centrifuge components despite Tehran's claim that it has suspended uranium enrichment and related activities. ENDS IAEA IRAN 2604

 

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As of January 2009, this site is definitely closed, but you can follow Safa Haeri on his new blog: DAMAVAND at http://wwwdamavandsafa.blogspot.com


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