The International Atomic Energy Agency says it has “credible” information that Iran has engaged in activities aimed towards the development of nuclear weapons.
In a report released in Vienna Tuesday, the U.N. agency expressed “serious concern” about the information, which it says “indicates” that Iran has worked on a nuclear weapon design, including the “testing of components.”
The report contains the U.N. agency’s strongest and most detailed allegations yet of military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program. Iran’s Fars news agency says Iranian ambassador to the IAEA Ali Asghar Soltanieh rejected the report as “unbalanced” and “politically-motivated.” Iran has long insisted its nuclear program is aimed at the peaceful generation of energy.
The IAEA report says Iran appears to have carried out nuclear weapons-related activities as part of a “structured” program prior to 2003. It says Iran may still be engaged in relevant research. The IAEA based the report on intelligence forwarded by some member states and material gathered by the agency itself.
Russia criticized the IAEA for distributing the report to the agency’s 35-nation governing board. In a statement, the Russian foreign ministry said the move appears intended to prevent a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear dispute at a time when there is a chance of renewed talks between Iran and world powers.
The White House said Monday it expected the report to “echo” U.S. concerns that Iran has failed to live up to international obligations.
In a report Sunday, The Washington Post newspaper said IAEA experts and diplomats, who reviewed intelligence on Iran’s nuclear program, believe Tehran has been working with a Russian scientist and other foreign experts to develop a device to trigger a nuclear weapon.
The German foreign ministry said Monday that Berlin would call for “greater political and diplomatic pressure” on Tehran if the IAEA report confirmed Western suspicions about a military dimension to Iran’s nuclear work.
The U.N. Security Council has imposed four rounds of sanctions on Iran for failing to suspend sensitive nuclear activities that have both military and peaceful uses.