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New nuclear parts 'found in Iran'

BBC News, UK
19 February, 2004

UN nuclear inspectors in Iran have found undeclared components of an advanced uranium-enrichment centrifuge at an air force base, diplomats say.
Correspondents say the find may be the first known link between Iran's nuclear programme and its military.

The UN's nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, has declined to comment on the find.

The diplomats said the parts found were compatible with the P-2 centrifuge - a more advanced type than the model Iran has acknowledged using.

The daily USA Today reported that the machinery was found at the Doshen-Tappen air base in Tehran.

The IAEA is currently examining Iran's nuclear activities for signs that it might be developing weapons.

Iran insists its nuclear programme is only for civilian purposes and says it made a full declaration to the IAEA in October.

On Tuesday, Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said Tehran had only been studying designs of a P-2 centrifuge and that the IAEA had been informed about its research.

"The P-2 centrifuge device is a research programme... We try to utilise any new models in the industry," he was quoted as saying.

He also said Iran could meet its own nuclear fuel demands and could supply the fuel to other countries.

Pakistan link

Gas centrifuges - which can be used to make nuclear warheads - spin at supersonic speeds to separate fissile uranium-235 from the non-fissile uranium isotopes.

The diplomats - who were not identified - said preliminary investigations by IAEA inspectors indicated the Iranian components matched drawings of equipment found in Libya and supplied by the clandestine Pakistani network headed by scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan.

The P-2 centrifuge is a Pakistani version of the advanced Western G-2 design and can produce material for use in reactors or bombs.

Iran agreed late last year to a tough inspections regime overseen by the IAEA.

Under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, countries are allowed to enrich uranium, but must notify the authority they are doing so.

Iran promised the IAEA in October that it would suspend its uranium enrichment programme.

US President George W Bush has said the world needs tighter restrictions to prevent the spread of nuclear know-how.

Washington said it would give Iran more time fully to disclose its nuclear activities before deciding whether to refer the issue to the United Nations Security Council.
12 posted on 02/19/2004 5:34:42 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Either you are with us or you are with the REGIME)
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To: DoctorZIn; nuconvert; McGavin999; Pan_Yans Wife; onyx; freedom44; seamole; Valin; RaceBannon; ...
Hardliners tighten their grip in Iran

February 20, 2004
By Ed O'Loughlin, Herald Correspondent in Tehran
Feb 20th 2004

Two of Iran's leading newspapers have been banned for criticising the alleged role of the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in suppressing dissenting candidates in parliamentary elections to be held today.

The two daily newspapers, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat and Yes-e No, were shut down by prosecutors on Wednesday after publishing an open letter to Ayatollah Khamenei, signed by 100 reformist MPs, in effect accusing his hard-line clerical faction of rigging the elections in advance.

In what is widely seen as the end of Iran's seven year experiment with democratic reform, Islamic clerics have used their authority under the constitution to ban 2500 reformist candidates, including many sitting MPs, from standing.

While Ayatollah Khamenei publicly questioned the bans issued by the 12 Islamic clerics on the Guardian Council, reformists have accused him of manipulating the crisis behind the scenes. With signs of widespread apathy in the electorate it seems likely that conservative candidates will capitalise on a low turnout to take control of parliament, the last reformist stronghold.

In 2000, reformist candidates won 200 seats in the 290-seat parliament, with 26 million people, or 67 per cent of the electorate, turning out to vote.

Since then, the reformist President, Mohammed Khatami, has lost much support due to his perceived failure to stand up to Ayatollah Khamenei.
13 posted on 02/19/2004 7:05:20 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Either you are with us or you are with the REGIME)
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