In a confidential analysis, experts in the UN nuclear watchdog say that Iran has acquired “sufficient information” on how to “design and produce a workable” nuclear bomb, apparently from sources including disgraced Pakistani scientist A Q Khan.
The International Atomic Energy Agency report says that Iran “most likely” obtained the needed information from “external sources” and then adapted the information to its own needs, reports The New York Times.
The Times says that many intelligence agencies assumed in the report that Iran obtained a bomb design from A Q Khan, the “rogue Pakistani black marketer who sold it machines to enrich uranium“.
That information may have been supplemented by a Russian nuclear weapons scientist who visited Iran often, the report quoted investigators as saying.
The IAEA report titled ‘Possible Military Dimensions of Iran’s Nuclear Programme’ stresses that its conclusions are tentative and subject to further confirmation of the evidence, which it says came from intelligence agencies and its own investigations.
But its conclusions go well beyond the public positions taken by several governments, including the US, reports The New York Times.
Only two years ago, the newspaper said, the American intelligence agencies announced that Tehran halted its efforts to design a nuclear weapon in 2003. But in recent months, the UK has joined France, Germany and Israel in saying that the work has been resumed.
The US is now re-evaluating its 2007 conclusions, the Times quoted a senior American official as saying.
The report says that Iran has done extensive research and testing on how to fashion the components of a weapon. It, however, does not say how far that work has progressed.
The IAEA report was produced in consultation with a range of nuclear weapons experts inside and outside the agency, The Times said.
The Iran’s nuclear programme apparently began in early 2002.