Iran Says It Bought Nuclear Parts from Dealers
February 22, 2004
TEHRAN -- Iran acknowledged on Sunday that it bought nuclear components on a shady black market amid mounting concern that the Islamic Republic may still be concealing sensitive nuclear research.
Disclosures by Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear program, have in recent weeks lifted the lid on the global trade in nuclear technology that could be used to make atomic bombs.
Khan has admitted to leaking nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea. Unlike the other two countries, Iran insists its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.
"We have bought some things from some dealers but we don't know what the source was or what country they came from," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters.
"It happens that some of those (dealers) were from some sub-continent countries," Asefi added, stressing that Tehran had informed the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog -- the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) -- about the purchases.
Malaysian police said on Friday that Khan had sold Iran $3 million in centrifuge parts to Iran in the mid-1990s.
Western diplomats in Vienna say Iran has given the IAEA the names of five European middlemen and six Pakistani scientists who helped Tehran acquire nuclear technology.
Diplomats also say the IAEA has found parts usable in advanced "P2" centrifuges to produce enriched uranium in Iran.
Iran late last year admitted to an 18-year cover-up of sensitive nuclear research and signed up to snap inspections of its nuclear facilities.
STILL HIDING SOMETHING?
But the discovery of P2 centrifuge parts has increased concern in Washington and the European Union that Iran may still be hiding aspects of its nuclear program.
However, a senior Western diplomat in Tehran told Reuters on Sunday he did not expect further major revelations about Iran.
"I don't think there will be more nasty surprises on the nuclear file," he said.
He said Iran appeared to have taken a fundamental decision, endorsed by all factions in the ruling establishment, that developing nuclear weapons was not worth the trouble.
However, he said Iran wants to retain a capacity to enrich uranium to keep the know-how, while the West was united in seeking to persuade them to give up the program completely.
"We are still haggling, thinking of prices," the envoy said.
Asefi said Iran had told the IAEA about its P2 centrifuge project, which Tehran says is still at the research stage.
"Weapons of mass destruction and nuclear weapons have had no place in Iran's defense doctrine and will not have," Asefi said.
The IAEA is expected to release a report on its inspections in Iran in the coming week. Diplomats in Vienna have said it will detail Tehran's continued failure to declare potentially weapons-related atomic equipment to the U.N. agency.
(Additional reporting by Paul Taylor in Tehran, Louis Charbonneau in Vienna) http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&storyID=4409065
"However, a senior Western diplomat in Tehran told Reuters on Sunday he did not expect further major revelations about Iran.
"I don't think there will be more nasty surprises on the nuclear file," he said."
He said Iran appeared to have taken a fundamental decision, endorsed by all factions in the ruling establishment, that developing nuclear weapons was not worth the trouble. "
Who Is This clown??