Inside the Ring

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“Since the last report of the Director General on 25 February 2011, the agency has received further information related to such possible undisclosed nuclear related activities, which is currently being assessed by the agency,” says the internal IAEA report dated May 24. “As previously reported by the Director General, there are indications that certain of these activities may have continued beyond 2004.”

That statement helps explain why the CIA in February revised its annual report to Congress on arms proliferation to leave out language contained in earlier reports echoing a controversial 2007 National Intelligence Estimate that said Iran halted work on nuclear arms in 2003.

The IAEA report for the first time provided details of the agency’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear arms work, including seven areas:

• Neutron generator and related diagnostic experiments involving the explosive compression of uranium deuteride to produce a short burst of neutrons.

• Uranium conversion and metal work aimed at producing uranium metal and making it into components for a nuclear bomb.

• Developing, manufacturing and testing explosive components used to initiate high explosives like those used in triggering a spherical-shaped nuclear warhead pit.

• Exploding bridgewire (EBW) detonator work related to “applications necessitating high simultaneity” like those used to trigger a nuclear weapon blast.

• Multipoint explosive initiation and hemispherical detonation studies that used detonators to set off hemispherical high explosive charges, and included “work which may have benefited from the assistance of foreign expertise” outside Iran.

• High voltage firing equipment used for explosives tests over long distances and possibly underground nuclear tests to determine if high voltage triggering of nuclear detonators can be carried out over long distances.

• Missile re-entry vehicle “redesign activities” for a new warhead that is “assessed as being nuclear in nature.” The design work included modeling on the removal of a conventional, high explosive warhead from the Shahab-3 missile and its replacement with a “spherical nuclear payload.”

An Iranian nuclear official on Wednesday dismissed the latest IAEA report as based on fabrications from “arrogant” countries, code often used by Tehran to describe the United States.

The report concluded that Iran is violating its IAEA agreement with regard to safeguards and is refusing to explain its nuclear activities.

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About the Author
Bill Gertz

Bill Gertz

Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.

He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.

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