IAEA documents Iranian development of a ‘nuclear explosive device’

The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today published its much anticipated report on Iran’s nuclear program.

A significant part of the report addressed international concerns over the military applications of Iran’s nuclear program. Was Iran attempting to build a nuclear weapon?

Since 2002, the Agency has become increasingly concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile, about which the Agency has regularly received new information.

The report concludes is that there is credible evidence Iran is working on projects for nuclear weapons:

G. Possible Military Dimensions

The information which serves as the basis for the Agency’s analysis and concerns, as identified in the Annex, is assessed by the Agency to be, overall, credible. The information comes from a wide variety of independent sources, including from a number of Member States, from the Agency’s own efforts and from information provided by Iran itself. It is consistent in terms of technical content, individuals and organizations involved, and time frames.

The information indicates that Iran has carried out the following activities that are relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device:

  • Efforts, some successful, to procure nuclear related and dual use equipment and materials by military related individuals and entities (Annex, Sections C.1 and C.2);
  • Efforts to develop undeclared pathways for the production of nuclear material (Annex, Section C.3);
  • The acquisition of nuclear weapons development information and documentation from a clandestine nuclear supply network (Annex, Section C.4); and
  • Work on the development of an indigenous design of a nuclear weapon including the testing of components (Annex, Sections C.5-C.12).

While some of the activities identified in the Annex have civilian as well as military applications, others are specific to nuclear weapons.

K. Summary

The Agency has serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme. After assessing carefully and critically the extensive information available to it, the Agency finds the information to be, overall, credible. The information indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device. The information also indicates that prior to the end of 2003, these activities took place under a structured programme, and that some activities may still be ongoing.

In an annex to the report, the IAEA provides details of activities that indicate Iran is pursuing a “nuclear explosive device.” Twelve activities are discussed (section C, Nuclear Explosive Development Indicators, pages 14-22).

An example of one of those 12 activities is the following: Iranian engineering groups have conducted studies to develop a new fusing, arming and firing system for a warhead delivered by its Shahab 3 ballistic missile. This included computer simulation of various design options, which was followed by the development of a prototype. The IAEA consulted a group of experts to look at the work and assessed what kind of payload this system could be used for. The assessment concluded that the most likely application was a nuclear warhead [see chart below].


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  • gary siebel says:

    It would be bizarre for them NOT to pursue nuclear weapons. It seems every country wants one, except, strangely enough, the one country that got nuked twice.
    Can’t be stopped, unfortunately. The question is, who in Iran will have their finger on the button?

  • Mr T says:

    What? Iran is lying about their nuclear ambitions? Well, you are only as good as your word and I guess they have no credibility anymore.

  • Charu says:

    And why wouldn’t Iran or any other terror-sponsoring nation not want to develop nukes? They just have to look at how Pakistan has been yanking our chain, and the velvet glove treatment we pursue because they are too nuclear to fail. Talk about rewarding bad behavior and the terrible example we are setting for other rogue states!

  • Javier says:

    Iraq WMD play comes to mind every time I read “alleged” “provided by a Member State” and “dual use equipment”.


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