Admits Nuclear Program Successful
has finally admitted having achieved "big success" in
nuclear fuel technology, saying the covert program revealed a day
earlier by diplomats in Vienna was a means to meet the nation's
But Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi refused to
acknowledge that inspectors from the International Atomic Energy
Agency (IAEA) have discovered drawings of equipment that can be used
to make weapons-grade uranium.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran has achieved a big success in the
field of nuclear fuel cycle technology," Asefi said in a
"Due to sanctions imposed by the U.S. in the past 25 years that
has created problems for inaugurating the Bushehr nuclear reactor,
the Islamic Republic of Iran was forced to expand its capability in
the field of nuclear energy in order to achieve self-sufficiency and
meet its energy requirements in the next decades," the
Diplomats in Vienna said that UN inspectors sifting through Iran's
nuclear files have discovered drawings of high-tech equipment that
can be used to make weapons-grade uranium - a new link to the black
market headed by the father of Pakistan's atomic bomb.
Beyond adding another piece to the puzzle of who provided what in
the clandestine supply chain headed by Abdul Qadeer Khan, the
revelations cast fresh doubt on Iran's commitment to dispelling
suspicions that it is trying to make atomic arms.
The diplomats, who spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity, said
the designs were of a P-2 centrifuge - more advanced than the P-1
model Iran has acknowledged using to enrich uranium for what it says
are peaceful purposes.
Preliminary investigations by the inspectors working for the IAEA
indicated they matched drawings of equipment found in Libya and
supplied by Khan's network, the diplomat said.
The diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Iran did
not volunteer the designs - despite pledging last year to replace
nearly two decades of secrecy with full openness about all aspects
of its nuclear activities. Instead, they said, IAEA inspectors had
to dig for them.
The diplomats emphasized that - despite calling into question Iran's
pledge to be fully open - the find did not advance suspicions that
Iran was trying to make nuclear weapons.
Iran has denied having nuclear ambitions. It signed an additional
protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to end nearly two
decades of nuclear secrecy late last year but only under intense
international pressure generated by the discovery of its secret
"We do not have anything to hide and we are ready to be
inspected more [seriously] by IAEA inspectors," Iranian Foreign
Minister Kamal Kharrazi told reporters Friday on the sidelines of a
Rome conference celebrating 50 years of Vatican-Iranian relations.
"There may be questions by IAEA inspectors but we are ready to
verify those, and what has been achieved altogether up until now is
out of our cooperation with IAEA," Kharrazi said in English
when asked about the discovery of the drawings. "As long as we
are ready to continue our cooperation, all outstanding questions
will be verified."