Iran has admitted violating the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty by enriching uranium without the authorization of
the International Atomic Energy Agency.
An IAEA report distributed to the agency's 35-member board of governors
asserted that Iran has admitted to several violations of the NPT. They
include a secret uranium enrichment program that has been operating since 1985.
During the summer of 2003, an IAEA team had found traces of enriched
uranium, but Iran said the material came from an unnamed country, Middle East Newsline reported.
"Iran has now acknowledged that it has been developing, for 18 years, a
uranium centrifuge program, and, for 12 years, a laser enrichment program,"
the report said. "In that context Iran has admitted that it produced small
amounts of LEU [low-enriched uranium], using both centrifuge and laser
enrichment processes and a small amount of plutonium."
The use of centrifuges and lasers are regarded as the leading methods for
producing fissile material for both nuclear power plants or weapons. Iran
has maintained that its uranium enrichment was for civilian purposes.
After months of denial, Iran told the agency that the Islamic republic
enriched uranium at the Kalaye Electric Co. facility in 1999 and 2000.
The IAEA report determined that the agency could not conclude that Iran's
secret nuclear program was meant for the assembly of atomic bombs. But the
agency did not rule out such a goal over the next few years as Iran
continues to build its nuclear infrastructure.
"It will take some time before the agency is able to conclude that Iran's
nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes," the report said.
The report raised concerns over Iran's nuclear program but did not
determine that Teheran had violated the NPT. The agency said Iran had
pursued a policy of concealment until October 2003. But the agency stressed
that the amount of nuclear material found fell far short of what was
required for the assembly of a bomb.
"While most of the breaches identified to date have involved limited
quantities of nuclear material, they have dealt with the most sensitive
aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle, including enrichment and reprocessing,"
the report said.
Western diplomatic sources said the 29-page report appears to fall short
of the expectations of the United States, which had sought an IAEA
determination that Iran had failed to cooperate with the agency. Such a move
would have resulted in the issue being relayed to the United Nations
"In the end, the Board will have to judge when it meets on November 20th
about what to do next and whether Iran has complied," State Department
spokesman Richard Boucher said on Monday.