شنبه ۲۰ آذر ۱۳۹۵ تهران ۰۷:۲۸ - ۱۰ دسامبر ۲۰۱۶
Inspectors from the UN nuclear watchdog IAEA linked highly enriched uranium found on Iran’s centrifuges to parts purchased through Pakistani middlemen, and to Russia. The finding partially confirms Iranian authorities’ claims about a key evidence on which US had based its charge that Iran was conducting a nuclear weapons program under the guise of an atomic energy project. August 11, 2004 - The IAEA nuclear inspectors have determined that traces of some of the enriched uranium found on Iran’s centrifuges came into the country on contaminated equipment bought through middlemen connected to Pakistan’s nuclear black market, sources familiar with the investigation said.
“The findings do not rule out the possibility that Iran may be concealing a weapons program, but they do lend support to the country's contention that it unknowingly imported tainted equipment,” writes the Washington Post.
Inspectors, who found two levels of enriched uranium, said that particles enriched to 54 percent came directly from Pakistan’s weapons program and that particles enriched to 36 percent came from Russian equipment Pakistan may have bought secondhand or third-hand years ago and which Khan later sold to Iran.
“The consensus has been for a while that the 36 percent enriched uranium had to have come from Russia because only Russia was producing that type of uranium,” Michael A. Levi, a science and technology fellow at the Brookings Institution told the Post.
“The big question was always how the material made it from Russia to Iran,” but Levi said contamination would explain that.
“We expect to report any findings that we have on our analysis of the samples in our next report to the board in early September,” IAEA spokesperson Melissa Fleming said.
In Washington, the Bush administration said it is waiting for the full report on the UN agency’s findings and its suspicions remain about Iran's covert nuclear agenda.
”Obviously, we think Iran has a weapons program. We think the evidence points to that,” US State Department Spokesman Adam Ereli said. “What’s troubling is that there are not clear, consistent answers that are provided in an open and transparent way ... as promised.”
Inspectors have interviewed more than a dozen middlemen and traders in an effort to learn about Khan’s nuclear black market and how it supplied Iran. More questions remain regarding Iran’s centrifuge program and whether it could work well enough to refine uranium to the 90 percent range necessary for creating a nuclear explosion.