Mullahs Atomic Shopping Cart Deepens
Jul 16, 2004, 23:40
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Western diplomats say recent intelligence reports show Iran has been attempting to buy items that could be used to build nuclear weapons -- a charge Tehran dismisses as baseless.
The diplomats cited European customs information and intelligence gathered in the Middle East showing Tehran had tried to buy, among other things, high-speed switches that could potentially be used in a nuclear weapon and high-speed cameras the Iranians might use to test a nuclear explosion.
"They appear to be working on the planning for a high-speed nuclear implosion device," the diplomat said, adding that Iran had also been experimenting with "high explosive that would be appropriate for the core of a nuclear weapon."
A senior U.S. official told Reuters in Washington that these procurement efforts were part of an effort that has been going on for a long time. He declined to confirm the specific items mentioned, but said they were not "all new" to Washington.
"This is an ongoing procurement process. I fully believe that they're still at it, but I can't say that there is some new list that they're out buying right now," the official said.