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IAEA: Iran Previously Worked on Developing Nuclear Weapons

  • Mike Richman

FILE - The flag of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) flies in front of its headquarters in Vienna, Austria.

FILE - The flag of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) flies in front of its headquarters in Vienna, Austria.

The U.N. nuclear agency says Iran worked in the past on developing nuclear weapons, but that there are no credible indications its efforts to do so lasted past 2009.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said in a confidential report obtained by media outlets Wednesday that Iran conducted most of its coordinated work on developing nuclear weapons prior to the end of 2003.

It also said some activities continued until 2009. The IAEA said the activities "did not advance beyond feasibility and scientific studies, and the acquisition of certain relevant technical competences and capabilities."

The agency's probe was based on intelligence provided by the United States, Israel and other countries suspicious of Iran's nuclear activities, and on the IAEA's own research and interviews.

Iran is in the process of cutting back on parts of its nuclear development program that could be used to produce nuclear weapons, as required by the landmark agreement Tehran reached with major world powers more than four months ago, according to the report.

Diplomats familiar with the IAEA report cautioned that Iran is keeping on standby thousands of centrifuge machines that could easily be returned to service for use in a prohibited weapons program.

Under the agreement that Iran and the major powers signed on July 14, Iran promised to dramatically scale back its nuclear program and reduce by two-thirds the number of centrifuges it possessed. In addition, Iran pledged to change the design of a new reactor at Arak in order to reduce sharply the amount of plutonium — a key ingredient for nuclear weapons — the facility would produce.

In return, the six major powers — the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — agreed to lift sanctions they have imposed on the Islamic Republic.

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