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Is Iran's "Civilian" Nuclear Program Run by its Military?

8:16 AM, Feb 1, 2006 • By DANIEL MCKIVERGAN
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It certainly appears so. From today's New York Times:

The International Atomic Energy Agency says it has evidence that suggests links between Iran's ostensibly peaceful nuclear program and its military work on high explosives and missiles, according to a report from the agency that was released to member countries on Tuesday and will be debated on Thursday....

The four-page report, which officials say was based at least in part on intelligence provided by the United States, refers to a secretive Iranian entity called the Green Salt Project, which worked on uranium processing, high explosives and a missile warhead design.

The combination suggests a "military-nuclear dimension," the report said, that if true would undercut Iran's claims that its nuclear program is solely aimed at producing electrical power.

The agency says it has repeatedly confronted Iran with the allegations, which Tehran dismissed as "baseless," adding that "it would provide further clarifications later," the report said.

Iran also reiterated that all of its nuclear projects were conducted under the authority of its national atomic energy agency and not the military....

It is highly unusual, Western experts said, for a group of uranium conversion experts ostensibly making fuel for nuclear reactors to also have administrative ties to people doing studies on explosives and re-entry vehicles, the technical name for missile warheads....

The agency for the first time stated its own conclusions on the matter and did so quite bluntly, saying the document that Iran obtained from the black market "related to the fabrication of nuclear weapon components."

The I.A.E.A., in a report issued in November, made reference to suspicious documents that the nuclear black market had offered to Tehran. While making no reference to weaponry, the report indicated that the black market had offered to help Iran shape uranium metal into "hemispherical forms," which Western experts said at the time had suggested the making of nuclear bomb cores.