Tuesday, January 31, 2006

VIENNA, Austria — A document obtained by Iran on the nuclear black market serves no other purpose than to make an atomic bomb, the International Atomic Energy Agency said yesterday.

The finding was made in a report prepared for presentation to the 35-nation International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board when it meets, starting tomorrow, on whether to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council, which has the power to impose economic and political sanctions on Iran.

The document was first mentioned late last year in a longer IAEA report. At that time, the agency said only that the paper showed how to cast “enriched, natural and depleted uranium metal into hemispherical forms.”

The agency then refused to make a judgment on what uses such casts could have. In the brief report obtained yesterday, however, the agency said bluntly that the 15-page document showing how to cast fissile uranium into metal was “related to the fabrication of nuclear weapon components.”

The report said the document was under agency seal, meaning that IAEA specialists were able in theory to re-examine it, but “Iran has declined a request to provide the agency with a copy.”

Diplomats said Iran has given part of the document to the agency in an effort to deflect international momentum to report the country to the Security Council.

The document was given to Iran by members of the nuclear black market network, the IAEA said. The same network provided Libya with drawings of a crude nuclear bomb, which that country handed over to the IAEA as part of its 2003 decision to scrap its atomic weapons program.

Separately, U.S. intelligence, based on information found on a laptop computer reportedly smuggled out of Iran, suggested that Tehran’s scientists were working on details of nuclear weapons, including missile trajectories and ideal altitudes for exploding warheads.

The developments were revealed just hours after a surprising agreement by the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council to advise that Iran be hauled before the powerful body over its disputed nuclear program.

The five members also decided that the U.N. council should wait until the IAEA issues a report in March before tackling the issue.

Iran struck back at the decision yesterday, saying the move would mean the end of diplomacy over its atomic program, but pledged not to curtail oil output over the standoff.

Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, said his country’s response would be a resumption of suspended nuclear activities and a halt to surprise U.N. inspections of facilities.

“In case of referring or reporting Iran to the U.N. Security Council, we have to start all nuclear work that has been voluntarily suspended and stop implementation of the Additional Protocol” that allows inspections, he told reporters.

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