UN accuses Iran of working to build nuclear bomb

UN accuses Iran of working to build nuclear bomb
# 19 February 2010 03:43 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. UN weapons inspectors have officially accused Iran of carrying out work to build a nuclear bomb for the first time, APA reports citing “Telegraph.co.uk.”

A damning report to be issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency next week will say Tehran has processed a substantial quantity of uranium to a point where it could be used to trigger a nuclear explosion.

The document provides direct evidence of Iran’s efforts to assemble a nuclear weapon which could provide a compelling justification for new UN sanctions against the country’s regime.

"Iran has not provided the necessary co-operation to permit the agency to confirm that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities," a leaked copy of the report said yesterday. "The information available to the agency raises concerns about the possible existence in Iran of past or current undisclosed activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile."

Diplomats said the report marked a turning point in efforts to expose Iran’s ambitions. Credit for the abrupt change in the IAEA’s stance went to Yukiya Amano, who took over as head of the agency, at the turn of the year.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the IAEA’s Egyptian former chief, was consistently reluctant to make definitive conclusions about evidence of Iranian violations. Some diplomats believed Mr ElBaradei bore the scars of the IAEA’s inaccurate accusations that Iraq and Saddam Hussein harboured a secret programme to build a weapon.

A second departure in the report, which will be submitted to the IAEA’s governing board on Mar 1, was an endorsement of intelligence passed on by Western governments, including CIA and MI6. It said: "The information available to the agency is broadly consistent and credible in terms of the technical detail, the time frame in which the activities were conducted and the people and organisations involved."

The accusation that Iran is producing uranium that can be used in a nuclear weapon goes beyond the official American assessment of Iran’s nuclear programme. America’s spy chiefs have officially concluded that Iran stopped weapons experiments as far back as 2003. The White House has confirmed that the assessment is currently under review.
The IAEA further criticised Iran for allowing its scientists to enrich uranium to a new, denser level before international inspectors had arrived at the plant, a violation of its obligations.

The Foreign Office last night welcomed the report and said it bolstered the case for tough new sanctions that are designed to curb the regime. "The report makes clear that Iran has not suspended its enrichment-related activities or its work on heavy water related projects as required by the UN Security Council," a spokesman said. "The IAEA’s charge sheet against Iran is getting longer and longer with each report."
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