'Alarming': IAEA obtains Iran blueprint for nuclear warhead
LONDON — The International Atomic Energy Agency has briefed its members on
Iran's blueprint of a nuclear warhead.
Western diplomats said the agency was given an Iranian government
document that illustrated a technique to mold uranium metal into the shape
of a warhead. They said the agency determined that the blueprint was genuine
and demonstrated Iran's interest in nuclear weapons.
"IAEA professionals are convinced that Teheran, at the very least, wants
to learn how to make nuclear warheads," a Western diplomat said. "The agency
is not willing to say that this proves that Iran is actually making the
On Thursday, the agency briefed member-states on the latest developments
in Iran's nuclear program. IAEA deputy director-general Olli Heinonen was
quoted as terming the finding of the Iranian warhead blueprint "alarming."
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"Today's briefing showed strong reasons to suspect that Iran was working
covertly and deceitfully at least until recently to build a bomb," U.S.
delegate to the IAEA, Gregory Schulte, said after the briefing.
During his closed briefing, Heinonen said Iran must now prove to the
agency that the Islamic state was not seeking to develop nuclear weapons.
Iran has dismissed the warhead blueprint as a fabrication.
Over the last year, diplomats said, 10 members of the IAEA board of
governors supplied intelligence information on Iran's nuclear program. They
were said to have included Britain, France, Germany and the United States.
The intelligence information has been included in the latest IAEA report
on Iran, circulated to board members on May 26. The IAEA board was scheduled
to discuss the report on June 2.
Diplomats said the agency report cited Iranian government documents that
discussed the production of high explosives that could be used to detonate
an atomic bomb. Another document referred to an Iranian project to design a
missile re-entry vehicle, a key component of any nuclear warhead.
The latest report determined that Iran was operating 3,500 gas
centrifuges for uranium enrichment. The agency said Iran could reach its
goal to operate 6,000 centrifuges by July 2008.
IAEA also determined that Iran was testing advanced centrifuges, said to
be three times more productive than the Pakistan-designed P-1. The agency
said only several advanced centrifuges entered the testing stage.