April 2, 2020

Iran made limited coordinated effort towards making nuclear bomb up to end of 2003, IAEA says

Iran made a coordinated, if limited, effort before the end of 2003 relevant to the making of nuclear weapons, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said in a confidential report seen by Reuters on Wednesday.

The report, required under a July deal between Tehran and six world powers, was aimed at answering questions about the true nature of Iran's past nuclear activities, some of which have dogged the Islamic Republic for more than a decade.

“The Agency assesses that a range of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device were conducted in Iran prior to the end of 2003 as a coordinated effort,” the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report said.

“The Agency also assesses that these activities did not advance beyond feasibility and scientific studies, and the acquisition of certain relevant technical competences and capabilities,” it said.

The wording of the report was clearer than some diplomats had anticipated, given that any indication Iran had sought to obtain nuclear weapons could make it more difficult to implement the July accord, which provides for a lifting of sanctions against Tehran in exchange for a shrinking of its atomic activities.

Last week, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano had said that the report would not deliver a “yes or no” answer to the question whether Iran's nuclear energy program has had military dimensions.