New York Times: After two years of stonewalling, Iran has given the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency a document showing how to cast uranium metal into hemispheres to form the core of an atom bomb, European officials said Tuesday. The New York Times
By ELAINE SCIOLINO
Published: November 14, 2007
VIENNA, Nov. 13 After two years of stonewalling, Iran has given the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency a document showing how to cast uranium metal into hemispheres to form the core of an atom bomb, European officials said Tuesday.
Iran is likely to portray the gesture as an important sign that it is cooperating fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency in resolving questions about suspicious and secretive nuclear activities that date back two decades.
Iran argues that because of this cooperation on its past activities, it should not be punished with new sanctions for its current programs, even though it is violating Security Council resolutions by continuing to produce enriched uranium, which can be used to make energy or weapons.
Possession of the document is not expected to add much to the agencys understanding of Irans nuclear history. The agency had been able to read the document inside Iran, but has sought an actual copy to study it in full.
The Iranians did not disclose why they had possession of the document and what they intended to do with the information, according to the European officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity under normal diplomatic rules.
The Iranian gesture will be included in a scheduled report that Mohamed ElBaradei, the agencys director, is to present to its 35-country governing board as early as Wednesday.
Iran was given the engineering drawings that could have helped it cast uranium into the precise shapes needed to build the core of a nuclear bomb as part of a larger black market offer in 1987, according to previous agency reports. The information, which was offered by Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistans nuclear bomb program and the head of what was the worlds largest nuclear black market, came into Irans hands as the country was covertly buying nuclear equipment for its program to enrich uranium.
Iran has told agency officials that it had never asked for the information.
The agency disclosed its discovery of the document in 2005, indicating that the Khan network offered to help Iran shape uranium metal into hemispherical forms, which both the nuclear agency and outside nuclear analysts said are often a prerequisite for making a nuclear weapon.
The United States, France, Britain and other countries are convinced that Irans nuclear program is aimed at developing a weapon, but Iran has denied it has a nuclear weapons program, insisting that its nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes.
Last summer, Iran reached an agreement with the United Nations agency on a timetable to answer questions about various past nuclear activities that have led many nations to suspect it harbors a secret weapons program.
Despite the latest gesture, Iran has failed to comply with a number of other demands by the agency under the timetable, said the officials.