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November 8, 2011 6:58 pm

U.N. Report Indicates Iranian Nuclear Weapon Development Underway

avatar by Maxine Dovere

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Photo: Daniella Zalcman.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations agency charged with worldwide nuclear weapons inspection released its highly anticipated report on Iran, November 8, 2011. It presented significant evidence that “Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device and may be continuing to progress its nuclear armaments projects.”

The long anticipated report raises questions about what responses may be appropriate: continued and/or enhanced sanctions, diplomacy, or more onerous sabotage or military action options. While indicating that experimentation is active, no specific time frame for weapon production is indicated. As noted in the Algemeiner’s previous report, nuclear trigger experimentation is said to be underway. It says the trigger tests “are strong indicators of possible weapon development,” the “harshest judgment that the International Atomic Energy Agency has ever issued.”

The findings have already rekindled a debate among Western allies and Israel about whether increased diplomatic pressure, sanctions, sabotage or military action could stop Iran’s program. No additional statement was available from the State Department.

Iranian officials have claimed the IAEA report is based on “fabrication” and that the regime would harshly respond to any attack. The English-language site of FARS, the official Iranian news agency warned that an Israeli strike would have the “Iranian military…fight(ing)…in Tel Aviv streets,” and would involve “the entire Europe and the U.S.” The Tehran Times, the English-language newspaper, reports claims that threats against Iran “have their roots in the West’s weakness” and attempts “to contain the Islamic awaking.”

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Eight years of development later, after its 2003 report, the IAEA conclusion is far closer to the American and British position then stated, and now agreed that Iran has attempted to develop military technologies, including nuclear warheads. Citing conclusions based on “over a thousand pages” of documents from Iran and intelligence from “more than 10” countries, IAEA explicitly charged Iran with development of technology for nuclear weapons, specifically mentioning work on a miniaturized warhead. Inspectors also found evidence of uranium enhancement and preparation for a nuclear test.

This report is thoroughly detailed, containing information retrieved from leaks, interviews and significantly corroborated. It examines multiple categories of technology including a study of the parameters involved for an explosive test of a nuclear warhead.

For approximately two years, Yukiya Amano, a former Japanese diplomat, has headed the IAEA. He stated that the agency had “tried without success to engage Iran in discussions about the information” and “continued to conceal nuclear activities.”

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