Four years after Iran was thought to have suspended its weapons program they were testing the component that triggers the explosion of a nuclear bomb, according to a new report.
Monday’s edition of British newspaper The Times includes an exclusive report, based on confidential documents, proving Iran was working on a neutron initiator as recently at 2007. “An Asian intelligence source” confirmed the documents are authentic evidence of nuclear weapons work.
According to physicist David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, uranium deuteride, a neutron source described by one of the technical documents, has no possible use other than in a nuclear weapon. “Although Iran might claim that this work is for civil purposes, there is no civil application,” he told The Times. “This is a very strong indicator of weapons work.”
Tehran insists the goal of civilian nuclear industry growth is nuclear energy, but the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and several western intelligence agencies who have seen the documents suspect Iran intends to build an atomic bomb.
After two days of talks among the EU’s 27 leaders, French President Nicolas Sarkozy told reporters Friday that Europe’s position is very clear. “We need sanctions,” he said. “Something has to be done.”
On a recent trip to Iraq, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates told US soldiers that Iran’s actions have brought the international community together. “Iran is stiffing the international community on some of the proposals that they agreed to,” he said.
However, China and Russia continue to call for restraint, asking the EU and other players to be patient with diplomacy.
Also this weekend the United States dismissed an Iranian offer to swap most of its stockpile of uranium for nuclear fuel rods, which cannot be used to produce a bomb. Earlier in the week, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast shrugged off threats of sanctions, insisting the West must gain Iran’s trust before entering into any nuclear fuel exchange deal.
Iran already faces three sets of UN sanctions. According to The Times, publication of the nuclear documents will increase pressure for tougher UN sanctions against Iran, which are due to be discussed this week.