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Report Says Iran Moving Closer to Nuclear Weapons


U.S. media say the U.N. nuclear agency has been provided with intelligence showing Iran has carried out work on developing nuclear weapons technology.

The Washington Post reported late Sunday that according to Western diplomats and nuclear experts who reviewed the intelligence, Iran has taken key steps in overcoming technical challenges with the help of foreign scientists.

David Albright, a former official with the International Atomic Energy Agency, told the newspaper that the advancements include obtaining the design for, and testing of, a capsule of explosives used to trigger a nuclear explosion. The New York Times reports that officials briefed on the intelligence say Iran has a facility some believe is used to test such a device.

The IAEA is due to release a report on Iran's nuclear program this week.

Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami warned IAEA chief Yukiya Amano Monday to not release what the Iranian leader called a report of lies, saying that would hurt the U.N. agency's credibility.

Western powers suspect Iran of developing nuclear weapons and have imposed sanctions in an attempt to curb its program. Iran says its nuclear activities are peaceful.

Israeli President Shimon Peres said Friday that the international community is closer to pursuing a military option than a diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear program. He called on world leaders to "fulfill their promises" to stop Iran.

His comments came a day after U.S. President Barack Obama said Iran's nuclear program poses a "continuing threat," and he urged Tehran to meet its nuclear obligations.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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