Thursday, February 09, 2006

Nuclear case Against Iran Strong.

WASHINGTON, 9 February 2006 — Iranian engineers have completed sophisticated drawings of a deep subterranean shaft that could be used for testing explosive nuclear devices, The Washington Post reported yesterday.
Citing unnamed officials familiar with available intelligence, the newspaper said the proposed 400-meter tunnel is complete with remote-controlled sensors to measure pressure and heat and appears to be designed for an underground atomic test that might one day announce Tehran’s arrival as a nuclear power.
US and allied intelligence analysts believe that day remains as much as a decade away, assuming that Iran applies the full measure of its scientific and industrial resources to the project and encounters no major technical hurdles, the report said.
But whether Iran’s leaders have reached that decision and what concrete progress the effort has made remain divisive questions among government analysts and UN inspectors, said the Post.
The drawings of the unbuilt test site, not disclosed publicly before, appear to US officials to signal at least the ambition to test a nuclear explosive, the newspaper said.
The designs were obtained from a laptop computer stolen by an Iranian citizen in 2004, and allegedly drawn up by a firm called Kimeya Madon for a small-scale facility to produce uranium gas — the construction of which would give Iran a secret stock that could be enriched for fuel or for bombs.
Also on the laptop, obtained by the CIA and shared with British, German and French intelligence, were drawings on modifying Iran’s ballistic missiles in ways that might accommodate a nuclear warhead.
US intelligence analysts consider the laptop documents authentic but admit they cannot prove it, and say a small possibility remains that opponents to the Iranian regime could have forged them to implicate the government, or speculate that a third country, such as Israel, may have fabricated the evidence, says the Post, adding that analysts have now discounted this theory.
But US and UN experts who have studied the undated drawings say they do not clearly fit into a larger picture, according to the report.
Nowhere, for example, does the word “nuclear” appear on them. The authorship is unknown, and there is no evidence of an associated program to acquire, assemble and construct the components of such a site, the paper said.
As far as US intelligence knows, the idea has not left the drawing board, the paper said.
Additionally, an imprisoned Pakistani arms dealer, Bukhary Syed Tahir, thought to have played the role of manufacturer, salesman and partner in Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan’s nuclear network, which allegedly supplied materials to Libya, Iran and North Korea, recently offered unconfirmed statements that Iran received several advanced centrifuges and equipment that would vastly improve its nuclear knowledge.
Meanwhile, an Iranian government spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham on Monday stressed the peaceful and transparent nature of Iran’s nuclear activities and said Tehran does not intend to leave the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
He told reporters that the door for negotiations was still open and there were no obstacles to the continuation of talks.
Stressing the international call for nuclear disarmament, he said Iran “favors non-discriminatory and comprehensive nuclear disarmament.”
Criticizing the discriminatory attitude of certain nuclear countries toward the nuclear activities of others, he said: “There are a number of countries which possess atomic weapons who wish to deprive others of the legitimate and indisputable right to access nuclear technology for peaceful uses.”
“The rights of all countries (to nuclear energy) should be determined within the context of international law, rules and relations and no country should have preference over another or be subjected to double standards.”
The government spokesman once again invited countries to participate in Iran’s nuclear programs, and assured that Iran would give “due respect to their individual national interests.”


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