Sunday, Jun 08, 2003
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By Vladimir Radyuhin
The RIA Novosti agency quoted a source "close to the International Atomic Energy Agency'' as saying Pakistan could have supplied to Iran the know-how for building gas centrifuges that can be used for producing weapons-grade uranium. IAEA inspectors discovered 200 such centrifuges at a nuclear facility in Iran last year.
A new IAEA mission left Vienna on Saturday for another round of nuclear inspections in Iran. The source, who did not want to reveal his name, told RIA Novosti that the centrifuges had been built using the technology developed by the British-Dutch-German company, Urenco. Pakistan in turn had obtained the technology thanks to the father of its atomic bomb, Abdul Kadir Khan, a former employee of Urenco.
Russia has strongly denied U.S. charges that a light-water reactor it is building at a nuclear power plant at Bushehr could help Iran acquire a technology for building nuclear weapons. At the same time, Moscow has recently expressed concern over Teheran's uranium enrichment equipment and called on Iran to sign an additional protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which would allow U.N. inspections at short notice.
However, Russia said it saw no reason for halting its nuclear cooperation with Iran as demanded by the U.S., as the Bushehr reactor was being constructed under full-scope IAEA guarantees. A senior official in the Russian Parliament said that instead of demanding that Russia break off the Bushehr contract, the U.S. should stop nuclear proliferation by its own allies.
``In view of the fact that Iran has been advancing its uranium-enrichment programme with the help of Pakistan, not Russia, the U.S. should try and ensure the effectiveness of IAEA inspections in Iran, rather than pressurise Russia to abandon the Bushehr project,'' said Vladimir Frolov, deputy chief of staff of the Foreign Affairs Committee at the State Duma the Lower House of the Russian Parliament.
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