Iran Nuclear NewsIran was blocked from buying nuclear materials at least...

Iran was blocked from buying nuclear materials at least 75 times, group says

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New York Times: Iran has been denied purchases of nuclear-related materials at least 75 times over the past nine years because of suspicions the purchases could have been used for building bombs, according to an international monitoring group. The New York Times

By WARREN HOGE
Published: November 16, 2007

UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 15 — Iran has been denied purchases of nuclear-related materials at least 75 times over the past nine years because of suspicions the purchases could have been used for building bombs, according to an international monitoring group.

The denials, most of which have occurred since 2002, have resulted from interventions by members of the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group, an offshoot of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

The suppliers group is charged with monitoring trade to make sure that nuclear technology transferred for peaceful purposes is not directed to military use.

Iran is a signatory to the treaty but not a member of the suppliers group.

Made up of technologically advanced countries, the group keeps its data private and meets largely in secret.

The list of trade denials was made available by a diplomat from a country interested in exposing the extent of Iranian efforts to acquire so-called dual-use items that can be converted to weapons production. He made the list available on agreement that neither he nor his country be identified.

According to the suppliers group’s mission statement, countries act on an individual basis to block trades that violate export controls devised to maintain international cooperation on peaceful uses of nuclear energy. They have no enforcement power beyond notifying companies that they are in violation of the group’s guidelines.

The diplomat said that the 75 denials represented actions by only 7 of the 45 member states. He said this suggested that the real number of denials of sales of dual-use products to Iran was probably much higher.

The list names companies from Australia, Finland, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates and Iran itself that were prevented from carrying out deals because the items being sold were suspected of being militarily useful.

The Iranian end users included the government of Iran and the country’s atomic energy organization and power, engineering, petrochemical and oil-refining and gas companies, aircraft industries, schools, universities, engine manufacturers, mineral research centers, a helicopter support company and a plasma physics center.

As the standoff with Iran over its nuclear program has continued, Western diplomats have contended that Tehran uses front companies to receive technology and convert it to weapons production without being detected.

Among the listed items being offered for sale in the blocked deals were nickel powder, petrochemical plant components, compressors, furnaces, steel flanges and fittings, electron microscopes, radiometric ore-sorting machines, valves and tubing, lasers, a rotary drilling rig, a mass spectrometer and a nitrogen production plant.

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