Daily Telegraph: Unexplained traces of plutonium and enriched uranium discovered at an Iranian waste facility prove that Teheran is pushing ahead with its illegal nuclear development programme, atomic inspectors said yesterday. The Daily Telegraph
By Tim Butcher and Oliver Poole
Unexplained traces of plutonium and enriched uranium discovered at an Iranian waste facility prove that Teheran is pushing ahead with its illegal nuclear development programme, atomic inspectors said yesterday.
A report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna accused Iran of persistently refusing to comply with undertakings it had given on nuclear proliferation.
The report, which will be discussed today by the IAEA’s 35-nation board of governors, confirmed Iran’s claims that it is well-advanced with its uranium enrichment programme, which many western intelligence officials believe is part of a clandestine weapons programme.
The report provides the most persuasive evidence yet of Iran’s determination to defy the international community by developing a capacity able to produce nuclear weapons. Details of the IAEA report emerged as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, claimed that his country could be ready to start producing nuclear power by the end of the Iranian calendar year, March 20.
“I’m very hopeful that we will be able to hold the big celebration of Iran’s full nuclearisation in the current year,” he said in Teheran.
He rejected overtures from the West, saying that if the United States wanted to talk to his government it would first have to “correct its behaviour”. The report by the IAEA admits that Iran has bypassed agency safeguards so successfully as to make its monitoring effectively useless.
Confirmation from the IAEA that Iran has failed to account for enriched particles of plutonium and uranium will be deeply embarrassing for Teheran, which insists that its nuclear programme is for providing future energy needs.
Suspicions have been growing that Iran has a secret military nuclear research programme since UN inspectors discovered particles of enriched uranium at a research complex at a military base outside Teheran in 2003.
The Iranians agreed to allow IAEA inspectors to visit the Lavizan complex but razed it before they arrived. Later they destroyed tens of acres of forest over fears that inspectors would find particles of enriched uranium in trees.