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ElBaradei. Rejected allegations Photo: AFP
ElBaradei. Rejected allegations Photo: AFP
 
 

IAEA denies it has proof Iran close to making bomb

ElBaradei rejects secret document revealing IAEA believes Iran has 'sufficient information' to create nuclear bomb, claiming agency still has 'no concrete proof', but US diplomat says contents of document unsurprising in light of 2007 intel reports

News agencies
Latest Update: 09.18.09, 00:23 / Israel News

A secret document was revealed Thursday, according to which experts at the world's top atomic watchdog were in agreement that Tehran has the ability to make a nuclear bomb and is on the way to developing a missile system able to carry an atomic warhead.

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However a statement made by the IAEA following the report says the agency has no proof that Iran has or once had a covert atomic bomb program.

 

"With respect to a recent media report, the IAEA reiterates that it has no concrete proof that there is or has been a nuclear weapons program in Iran," the statement said.

 

The document that stirred the controversy was drafted by senior officials at the International Atomic Energy Agency, and constitutes the clearest indication yet that the agency's leaders share Washington's views on Iran's weapon-making capabilities.

 

It appeared to be the so-called "secret annex" on Iran's nuclear program that Washington says is being withheld by the IAEA's chief.

 

The document says Iran has "sufficient information" to build a bomb. It says Iran is likely to "overcome problems" on developing a delivery system.

 

The US, France, and Israel have recently accused the outgoing head of the IAEA, Mohammad ElBaradei, of concealing information regarding Iran's nuclear program. ElBaradei rejected the allegations, saying they had political motives.

 

US diplomat: Document unsurprising

A senior US diplomat told Ynet Thursday evening he was not surprised by the contents of the secret document leaked to the press.

 

The US's former ambassador to the IAEA, Greg Schulte, said ElBaradei had ignored demands made by officials in his agency to further investigate the aims of Iran's nuclear program. Schulte said he believed this was why the report had been leaked.

 

Schulte, who is currently a senior visiting fellow at the National Defense University Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction, has been a critic longtime of ElBaradei's in Washington.

 

He said US intelligence determined in 2007 that Iran was developing nuclear weapons, and that although the activity seems to have halted in 2003, it could easily be renewed.

 

Schulte said that it would be "extremely disturbing" if ElBaradei was discovered to have prevented renewed investigations into the matter from taking place. He added that he did not represent the official view of the US administration.

 

Yitzhak Benhorin contributed to this report

 

First Published: 09.17.09, 21:06

 

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