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U.N.: Evidence of Ongoing Iran Bomb Program

Key words in new report: ‘specific to nuclear weapons’

Marc Tracy
November 08, 2011

The International Atomic Energy Agency report has been released. Significantly, it finds that elements of Iran’s nuclear program are “specific to nuclear weapons.” It notes that “some activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device continued after 2003, and that some may still be ongoing” (some, including Seymour Hersh, have suggested the weapons program was halted after the U.S. invasion of Iraq). Among these elements is procuring “nuclear related and dual use equipment;” producing “undeclared pathways for the production of nuclear material” (Iran has not given sufficient information on 10 new uranium enrichment facilities nor suspended all heavy-water projects, both of which are required by U.N. resolutions); and designing a nuclear weapon. It concludes: “The Agency has serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme. After assessing carefully and critically the extensive information available to it, the Agency finds the information to be, overall, credible. The information indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.”

In an annex, the IAEA delves into highly technical detail on the question of various research and development Iran has done for things that are either specifically or very likely intended for military use. Iran has worked on a type of detonator that technically has non-nuclear uses but is much more likely to be used for nuclear weapons. In another highly suspect area, we learn that Iran not only continued working after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, but in fact began a four-year program in 2006.

A diplomatic source tells Haaretz spy correspondent Yossi Melman that this is “the most damning report ever published by the IAEA and the conclusion arising from it is one: Iran is working to acquire a nuclear weapon.”

The IAEA also admits that it cannot know the full extent of Iran’s nuclear program—further evidence that could either be damning or exculpatory—due to Iran’s own evasive behavior. “As Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation, including by not implementing its Additional Protocol,” the agency says, “the Agency is unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.

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