IAEA says Iran seeks nuclear warhead…

From a January 2006 Haaretz article:IAEA confirms Iran prepares for nuclear enrichment
By Yossi Melman, Haaretz Correspondent, and News Agencies
A comprehensive document obtained by Iran on the nuclear black market serves no other purpose than to make an atomic warhead, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Tuesday.The finding was made in a report to be presented to the 35-nation IAEA board when it meets, starting Thursday, on whether to refer Iran to the UN Security Council and revealed in full to The Associated Press.

The IAEA also confirmed that Iran had begun preparing for nuclear enrichment.


“Substantial renovation of the gas handling system is underway at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP) at Natanz,” the report said.Iran did not let the IAEA copy a 15-page document “related to the fabrication of nuclear weapon components”, though they were allowed to look at it, the report said.

“Iran has declined the agency’s request to provide the agency with a copy of the document, but did permit the agency during its visit in January 2006 to examine the document again and to place it under agency seal.”

Earlier Tuesday, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council agreed that the Iranian nuclear issue should be brought to the Council for debate.

Iran announced in response that it would halt snap inspections of its atomic plants and end a suspension of uranium enrichment if it is reported to the Council.

“In case of any referral or report to the council, we are obliged to lift all the suspensions and stop implementation of the Additional Protocol based on a law passed by parliament,” Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani was quoted as saying by the semi-official Mehr news agency.

The foreign ministers of China, Russia, the United States, France and Britain, plus Germany and the European Union, said after a dinner in London that the IAEA must decide to bring Iran’s case before the Council when the agency holds an emergency meeting on Thursday.

Larijani said earlier that the a referral would mark the end of diplomatic efforts to find a peaceful solution to Iran’s nuclear aspirations, which Tehran says are purely peaceful, not military as the West suspects.

“We consider any referral or report of Iran to the Security Council as the end of diplomacy,” Larijani told state television.

The tough action against Tehran – the culmination of more than three years of failed efforts to find a diplomatic solution – follows Iran’s decision last month to resume atomic research and development after a break of more than two years.

The agreement stopped short of recommending a formal referral of Iran to the Security Council, where it could face economic sanctions.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair hailed the agreement to involve the council as a powerful signal to Iran.

“I hope it’s sending a message that the international community is united,” Blair told Reuters Television. “This is going to be discussed and decided upon by the UN Security Council. That is a very important step. We couldn’t get agreement on that before, we’ve got agreement on it now”.

But Iranian officials have previously said any move to inform or report its case to the Council would lead it to scale back cooperation with UN inspectors and resume uranium enrichment — the most sensitive phase of the atomic fuel cycle.

In response to the agreement, Gholamreza Aghazadeh, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, said in an interview with the semi-official ISNA students news agency, “There is no legal basis to refer Iran’s case to the Security Council and the Europeans will face difficulties doing so.”

The London meeting statement again called on Iran to halt atomic research, which has led to Iran removing UN seals at a uranium enrichment facility which could be used to make bomb-grade material.

But Javad Vaeedi, deputy head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said Iran had no intention of backing down.

“Research and development is the Iranian nation’s legitimate right and is irreversible,” he told state television.

Both Iranian officials, however, stressed that Tehran was willing to continue negotiations to avoid a UN Security Council showdown.

“I still believe that a diplomatic solution can be found to get out of this crisis,” Aghazadeh said.

Uranium enrichment is the chief activity that Iran has suspended, but Larijani stopped short of specifying a reusmption of enrichment.

Under the protocols, Iran agreed to allow IAEA inspectors to carry out surprise inspections of its nuclear sites with as little as two hours notice. The deal also lets them inspect sites Iran has not officially declared as nuclear facilities – such as the Parchin military base outside of Tehran that inspectors visited in October, suspecting that nuclear activity was taking place there.

Iran’s parliament passed a law late last year requiring the government to block intrusive inspections of Iran’s facilities if the UN nuclear agency refers the Iranian program to the Security Council.

The law also requires the Iranian government to resume all nuclear activities it had stopped voluntarily, foremost among them enriching uranium. Western countries, and chiefly the U.S., fear enrichment could be used to also produce material for nuclear weapons.


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