No real progress in clearing Iran nuclear weapons charges - IAEA

Iran Materials 15 September 2008 16:38 (UTC +04:00)

Iran has failed to provide information that would clear up allegations it was involved in nuclear weapons-related research, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Monday.

A report issued by the nuclear watchdog provided further indications that Iran's studies on high-explosives testing and missiles, which the IAEA says could have been related to weapons, were technically related and were conducted with foreign help, reported dpa.

"The agency, regrettably, has not been able to make any substantive progress on the alleged studies and other associated key remaining issues which remain of serious concern," IAEA director general Mohamed ElBaradei wrote in his report to the agency's board members.

While Iran denies that it has conducted explosions with hemispherical charges, ElBaradei said in the report that the IAEA had obtained information that the experiments "may have involved the assistance of foreign expertise."

The dimensions of the explosive charge corresponded to the dimensions of the warhead documented in Iran's alleged missile studies, the report said. The IAEA has said previously that there are indications the missile project was geared towards nuclear weapons.

Since the last report in May of this year, Iran has continued to defy United Nations Security Council resolutions by expanding its uranium enrichment programme.

Iran now operates around 4,600 centrifuges, which have produced a total of 480 kilograms of low-enriched uranium so far, according to the report and information provided by UN officials.

However, Iran would need 15,000 kilograms for a "breakout scenario" in which Tehran would take the low-enriched uranium and enrich it further for use in an atom bomb, a UN official said.

While the United States and other Western countries are concerned about the possibility of such a breakout, Iran's leaders stress that its nuclear programme is geared solely towards energy generation.