Iran may have spread secret information published in Times: expert Jean-Pascal Zanders

Iran may have spread secret information published in Times: expert Jean-Pascal Zanders

Azerbaijan, Baku, Dec. 18 / Trend T.Konyayeva /

Iran may have been behind the publication of secret documents "revealing" the military thrust of the country's nuclear program, European Institute for the Study of Security Issues Research Fellow Jean Pascal Zanders said.

"I'm just speculating here, Iran itself could actually be the source of the release in the sense that it wants to convey more than perhaps what exists inside of Iran," Zanders wrote Trend in an e-mail. "It could be a part of the deterrence policy towards other countries."

This past Monday, The Times newspaper reported that Iran is testing a key component needed to build an atomic bomb, referring to secret documents from an unknown source.

These documents, dating to early 2007, describe a four-year plan for testing a neutron initiator, which is a nuclear bomb component triggering the explosion mechanism. The papers also cover technical documentation and mention the use of uranium deuteride, which independent experts say is only used in nuclear weapons.

The expert cited as an example from the early 1990s when then Iraqi President Saddam Hussein held a press conference and placed krytons in front of him, which are also a trigger for nuclear weapons.

"Today we know he didn't have nuclear weapon program or at least very advanced one," he added. "By making that statement he suggested that he was much more developed he actually was, so that Israel and other countries would not attack Iraq."

However, the expert stressed that the main question is what these document means or represents.

"I think we should ask ourselves is why the document is being released right now. I mean it can be a secret document but sometimes such a document may be released on purpose to influence opinion, to influence decision making," Zanders said.

He added that it is surprising that none of the big agencies has picked it up and very few people have commented on it.

"We just don't know where it comes from, why particularly the Times got that because the Times has with respect to chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, the Times had several so-called scoops which afterwards proved to be of dubious value," the expert said.

He believes a major concern about Iran is its reluctance to provide transparency for the program, continuing to insist on having the right to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

The Western countries insist that Iran should cease enriching nuclear fuel itself. The U.S. and EU countries fear that Iran could develop nuclear weapons due to highly enriched uranium. But Iran insists that its nuclear program is exclusively peaceful in nature and does not intend to waive its right to the peaceful atom.

"Under the NPT signed in 1968 there is such a right," he said. "However, the right can't be abused for weapon purposes. The IAEA must be able to send its inspectors there to see that whatever happening is legitimate."

In terms of transparency Iran is not really forthcoming, he said adding that one of the core reasons why there is a cause for concern is that Iran may be operating more installations than it has indicated.

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