Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Iran uranium ‘traced to Pak’ IRAN CLEARED!

The Statesman:

"Iran uranium ‘traced to Pak’

Associated Press
VIENNA, Aug. 10. — The UN’s nuclear watchdog has traced some particles of enriched uranium found in Iran to Pakistan. However, the International Atomic Energy Agency still cannot fully verify Teheran’s claims that all such material came into Iran on equipment bought on the black market, diplomats said today.
The reported finding boosts Iranian claims that it did not process uranium into its enriched form, which can be used both as fuel to generate power or as the core of nuclear warheads. It also weakens the case being built by the USA and its allies, which accuse Iran of past covert enrichment as part of a clandestine weapons programme.
The diplomats, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said the agency had only been able to conclusively link one sample found at one Iranian site to Pakistan — particles enriched to 54 per cent — although another sampling enriched to a lower degree might also have come on equipment bought from the network headed by Pakistani scientist Dr AQ Khan.
They said while the findings strengthened Iran’s hand ahead of the 13 September meeting of the IAEA board of governors, the agency still was far from establishing the origin of all traces of enriched uranium found in Iran, adding it may never be able to do so.
The diplomats, who are familiar with Iran’s nuclear dossier, said lack of clarity on that issue and Teheran’s past cover-ups, its spotty record of cooperation with the IAEA and its insistence on the right to enrich uranium still keep it in the UN agency’s spotlight.
The IAEA refused to comment today. IAEA spokeswoman Ms Melissa Fleming said no new findings of the agency would be made public ahead of a report being prepared for the September meeting.
The report, being written by IAEA director-general Md ElBaradei, will review the agency’s progress in clearing up open questions about nearly two decades of secret nuclear activities by Iran that were first revealed in 2003.
Most of the still-unanswered questions focus on the sources of traces of highly enriched uranium found at several sites in Iran, and the extent and nature of work on the advanced P-2 centrifuge, used to enrich uranium."

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