AND ON A LIGHTER NOTE
A report by the UN nuclear watchdog next week will support allegations that Iran has built a nuclear weapons testing facility, Reuters reported on Saturday.
In its report, Reuters cites sources stating that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has obtained satellite pictures of a large steel container for carrying out tests with high explosives that could be used in nuclear weapons. The images of the site at Parchin, near Tehran, and other evidence lend credence to allegations by IAEA member states that the installation was intended for nuclear-related explosives testing.
Western diplomats contacted by the FT on Saturday said that they would make no comment on the Reuters report.
In recent days, western diplomats have said the keenly awaited report will strengthen suspicions that Tehran is seeking to develop a capability to make atomic bombs.
However, the IAEA is expected to stop short of saying explicitly that Iran is definitely doing so.
It was unclear when the container at Parchin was built or whether it was actually used for nuclear-related work.
Iranian officials were not immediately available for comment.
Suspicions of nuclear arms work at the Parchin military complex southeast of Tehran date back at least to 2004 when a prominent nuclear expert said satellite images showed it could be a site for research, testing and production of nuclear weapons.
Iran, which says its nuclear programme is peaceful, has previously denied the allegations. In 2005, Iran allowed U, nuclear inspectors to visit Parchin.
The IAEA in May listed seven areas of concern regarding possible military dimensions to Iranâs nuclear programme, including high explosives manufacture and testing and the development, manufacture and testing of explosive components.
One of the main hurdles in making an atomic bomb is designing a ring of conventional explosives to compress atomic material in the warhead core, igniting a nuclear chain reaction. Experiments have to be carried out to test the impact of explosions on bomb components.
The IAEA report is expected to include other evidence of research and other activities that make little sense if not weapons-related, Western diplomats have said.
Western powers believe Iran is secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons, but Tehran denies this, saying it is enriching uranium only to power reactors for electricity generation.
Any evidence of nuclear weapons activities would strengthen calls for further sanctions against Iran.
Shit, and I just heard from Herman Cain that CHINA is attempting to acquire NUCLEAR CAPABILITY as well!