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Nuclear watchdog's report to shed light on Iran weapons program

The Israeli army test-fires a missile Wednesday that is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and striking Iran, fanning reports that the country’s leaders are agitating for a military attack on Tehran’s atomic facilities. 

Associated Press

The Israeli army test-fires a missile Wednesday that is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and striking Iran, fanning reports that the country’s leaders are agitating for a military attack on Tehran’s atomic facilities. 

VIENNA — An International Atomic Energy Agency report this week on Iran's nuclear program may point to efforts by Tehran to build a computer model of a nuclear warhead.

The report will provide many details on Iran's alleged weapons projects, including evidence based on satellite images that show a steel structure for nuclear-related testing of explosives, McClatchy Newspapers said it was told by diplomats Saturday.

Tensions were rising in the leadup to the much-anticipated document, expected on Wednesday, with Israeli President Shimon Peres saying that military action against Tehran is growing more likely as Iran is moving toward a nuclear weapon.

"In the time that remains, we must urge the other nations of the world to act and tell them that it is time to stand behind the promise that was made to us, to fulfill their responsibility, whether that means serious sanctions or whether it means a military operation," he said in a TV interview Friday.

The West suspects Tehran's nuclear program is aimed at making nuclear weapons, charges the country has denied. Iran also denied Saturday that the report by the International Atomic Energy Agency would show efforts by Tehran to build a computer model of a nuclear warhead.

"We have no problems if the IAEA insists to raise this issue in its next report, just their documents for proving the issues are all baseless," Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi said.

According to the Fars news agency, Salehi said Iran has already replied to these charges in a 117-page report to the atomic energy agency.

Salehi added that the agency should stick to its main duty as a U.N. nuclear watchdog and not adopt a political approach under pressure of world powers.

The new report is based on a continuous stream of intelligence reports that Israel, the United States, Britain and France have provided to the international nuclear agency.

Agency chief Yukiya Amano said in a report in May that he was concerned about seven Iranian research projects, including turning uranium metal "into components relevant to a nuclear device."

Even if the upcoming report contains damning information, McClatchy said it was told by the diplomats that it was unlikely that the nuclear agency's governing board would condemn Iran when it meets on Nov. 17 and 18 in Vienna because it could take months to convince China and Russia to support a board resolution that could be the first step toward additional U.N. sanctions.

Nuclear watchdog's report to shed light on Iran weapons program 11/05/11 [Last modified: Saturday, November 5, 2011 11:11pm]

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