International

Iran could be making nuclear warhead, says IAEA

Securing borders:Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during the launch of Iran's first domestically built destroyer, Jamaran, in Iran on Friday.  

The United Nation's nuclear watchdog has raised concerns for the first time that Iran might be developing a nuclear warhead for a missile.

In his first report on Iran, new Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano, broke with the more cautious style of his predecessor Mohamed ElBaradei and suggested Iran could have looked into the construction of a weapon, and that weaponisation work could be under way.

Mr. Amano's report to the IAEA board also confirmed that Iran had succeeded in producing 20 per cent enriched uranium, a level of enrichment much closer to weapons grade than it had attempted before. It criticised the Iranian authorities for taking the step without giving IAEA inspectors notice.

Iran's envoy to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said the report confirmed Iran's “peaceful nuclear activities”. But Mr. Amano's comments on the “possible military dimensions” of the programme are likely to add to the diplomatic pressure on Tehran, as they go further than the official position of U.S. intelligence, that weaponisation work is likely to have been suspended in 2003.

Britain, France and Germany have all distanced themselves from the U.S. assessment, and their intelligence agencies now believe that even if Iranian work on warhead design did stop, it has now resumed. American officials have said informally they agree with that conclusion but have yet to update their official position.

The report said the IAEA's information “raises concerns about the possible existence in Iran of past or current undisclosed activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile”. The wording goes much further than earlier reports by Mr. ElBaradei, who repeatedly refrained from explicitly spelling out the implications of evidence on weapons-building his inspectors had gathered.

The Foreign Office said: “The IAEA's charge sheet against Iran is getting longer and longer with each report.” — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2010


Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jan 19, 2022 6:18:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/Iran-could-be-making-nuclear-warhead-says-IAEA/article16815698.ece

Next Story