'Iran capable of making N-bombs'

'Iran capable of making N-bombs'

It worked on developing a missile system that can carry an atomic warhead: IAEA

The document drafted by senior officials at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is the clearest indication yet that those officials share Washington’s views on Iran’s weapon-making capabilities and missile technology — even if they have not made those views public. The document, titled ‘Possible Military Dimension of Iran’s Nuclear Programme’, appeared to be the so-called IAEA “secret annex” on Iran’s alleged nuclear arms programme that the US, France, Israel and other IAEA members say is being withheld by agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei — claims the nuclear watchdog denies.

It is a record of IAEA findings since the agency began probing Iran’s nuclear programme in 2007 and has been continuously updated.  Calls to the Iranian mission at the UN were not immediately returned. The information in the document that is either new, more detailed or represents a more forthright conclusion than found in published IAEA reports includes: the IAEA’s assessment that Iran worked on developing a chamber inside a ballistic missile capable of housing a warhead payload “that is quite likely to be nuclear”; that Iran engaged in “probable testing” of explosives commonly used to detonate a nuclear warhead — a method known as a “full-scale hemispherical explosively driven shock system”;  an assessment that Iran worked on developing a system “for initiating a hemispherical high explosive charge” of the kind used to help spark a nuclear blast.

In another key finding, an excerpt notes: “The agency ... assesses that Iran has sufficient information to be able to design and produce a workable implosion nuclear device (an atomic bomb) based on HEU (highly enriched uranium) as the fission fuel.’’
ElBaradei said in 2007 there was no “concrete evidence” that Iran was engaged in atomic weapons work — a source of friction with the United States, which has sought a hard-line stance on Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Responding to the AP report, the agency did not deny the existence of a confidential record of its knowledge and assessment of Iran’s alleged attempts to make nuclear weapons.

No proof

But an agency statement said the IAEA “has no concrete proof that there is or has been a nuclear weapon programme in Iran.” It cited ElBaradei as telling the agency’s 35-nation governing board last week that “continuing allegations that the IAEA was withholding information on Iran are politically motivated and totally baseless.’’

Meanwhile, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in an interview with NBC Nightly News, refused to foreswear ever building nuclear weapons, but said repeatedly that he saw “no need’’ for them.

“Well, nuclear arms, we believe they belong to the past and the past generation,’’ he said.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
Comments (+)